Progress on New Downtown Hotel

September 5, 2012 Updated Sep 5, 2012 at 6:46 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 5, 2012 Updated Sep 5, 2012 at 6:46 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Does downtown Buffalo need more hotel rooms?

According to developers at four downtown hotel projects, the answer is yes.

The latest project to make forward movement is a Hilton Garden Inn hotel in the Tishman Building at 10 Lafayette Square.

The former headquarters of National Fuel has been vacant since 2002, when the utility moved to Amherst.

The Hamister Group will spend $40 million on the 20-story building, making the top three floors its corporate headquarters.

$8 million of the project will come from state grants as part of a historic preservation grant.

"We are extremely bullish not only for this project but for what the Sabres organization is proposing on the Webster Block and what some of the other folks are proposing here in town," said the company's Chairman and CEO Mark Hamister.

The Buffalo Sabres was recently selected by City Hall to be the preferred developer of the Webster Block with plans for a hotel to open there in 2015.

Developer Mark Croce has plans to build a hotel at the corner of W. Huron St. and Franklin St.

And the former Donovan State Office Building on the perimeter of Canalside also has plans to include a hotel.

"We also looked at what the Montantes did with the Avant and how successful the Embassy Suites has been as a good indicator of the economic need for good, quality hotel rooms in downtown Buffalo," said Hamister.

The Hamister Group will pay Buffalo $167,000 for right-of-way access to construct a valet and drive-up car lane on the Lafayette Square side of the proposed hotel.