NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) -- A landmark hotel on Buffalo Avenue In Niagara Falls celebrated a new life Thursday night. An open house gave area residents a chance to see the results of a multi million dollar investment. "It's the old Red Jacket Inn, which is kind of an institution here in Niagara falls. We had a lot of weddings and a lot of proms in this building. And, unfortunately it kind of fell into disrepair for a few years. So, when we purchased it, we decided to bring it back to its glory days," remembered Faisal Merani, president of LaSalle Hospitality Incorporated, the hotel's new owner.
After 18 months of renovations...The hotel has reopened under the Four Points by Sheraton name. The entire building from top to bottom has been redone with an eye on bringing in large events. "We are really going after the wedding market here. We have a three hundred person banquet room with views of the river and we are really trying to get some boat traffic out there. You can actually pull up your boat right outside of our patio and come out for a drink and some lunch," Merani added. The 141 room hotel has already seen steady bookings since it's recent opening.
"One of the things that we're recognizing is that we have a shortage of hotel rooms at three diamond and above level. We need to get those on line as soon as possible, because if people can't find a place to stay here in Niagara Falls...then they can't find a way to spend money here," explained City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
The new hotel sits outside of the downtown tourist district. But, with a faltering national economy, do the owners believe there is a need for more hotel space? "We actually do have another hotel in the city as well...which we bought about five years ago. Every year it has been doing better business than the year before. So, we decide now is the time to build an other hotel. The area definitely needs it," Marani answered.
"This is a waterfront location. One of the great things about this site is that you can pull up here in a boat. There is tremendous opportunities for some synergies with the waterfront at this location," Mayor Dyster added. The price tag for the renovations reached seven million dollars. The owners are already looking forward to their first banquet booked for later this month.