Hotel Lafayette Scheduled to Open in 4 Weeks

March 29, 2012 Updated Mar 29, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

March 29, 2012 Updated Mar 29, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

(Buffalo, NY) Renovation work at the old Hotel Lafayette is now entering the final stage.

Since last June, 270 workers have been trying to restore the building to its old grandeur.

Developer Rocco Termini tells Eyewitness News that construction workers have found many hidden historic features such as a "speak easy" in the basement, and a marble floor hidden under layers of linoleum.

"The biggest challenge was finding craftsman that are still alive to do this kind of work," says Termini.

"We have some plasterers on this job that are 77-years old because there are just not any young plasterers. It is a dying trade."

The $42-million dollar renovation project is expected to be complete in about a month, with a fundraiser for Niagara University scheduled as the first event.

Rocco Termini is president of Signature Development and he says 170 events are already booked for the newly renovated hotel.

Opened in 1904, it was considered one of the best hotels in the country, featuring hot and cold running water, and phone service to the bedrooms.

The Hotel Lafayette also holds a special place in women's history.

It was designed by America's first professional female architect - Louise Bethune from Buffalo.