Hotel Lafayette Hosts Event, First in 40 years

April 28, 2012 Updated Apr 29, 2012 at 12:09 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

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April 28, 2012 Updated Apr 29, 2012 at 12:09 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. ( WKBW ) The building was the brain child of the first female architect in the United States, Louise Blanchard Bethune, Buffalo's Hotel Lafayette.

Now, after years of laying virtually dormant, developer Rocco Termini has worked to meticulously restore the building, bringing it back to life.

On Friday Termini took Eyewitness News and other invited guests on a tour for the first event to be held at the downtown landmark since he took over the development project.

Hotel Lafayette, also known as the Lafayette Hotel, is a historic hotel building located at Buffalo in Erie County, New York. It is a seven story steel frame and concrete building designed in the French Renaissance style. It is composed of several rectangular building units completed between 1902 and 1926. It features decorative vitreous red brick and white terra cotta trim. The original building was designed by the firm of Bethune, Bethune & Fuchs, including noted architect Louise Blanchard Bethune (1856–1913), and built between 1902 and 1911. Additions from 1916–1917 and 1924-1926 were completed by Esenwein and Johnson. The lobby was decorated in 1942 in the Art Moderne style. In its prime, the Lafayette Hotel was considered one of the 15 finest hotels in the country. Besides elevators, every room featured hot and cold water and a telephone. A 97 m (318 ft) antenna is attached to the building.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

A $35 million rehabilitation project has started on the hotel and is expected to be complete by October 2011. The hotel will be converted into 115 one and two bedroom apartments and 34 hotel rooms. Several bars, restaurants and other businesses have signed to occupy the first floor. The renovation is being conducted by experienced Buffalo property developer, Rocco Termini.

Renovations on the building are in their final phase and are projected to be complete by mid-May 2012.