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Hotel Henry, citing 'crippling' effects of pandemic, to close at end of this month

Why Time magazine is in love with Hotel Henry
Posted at 5:32 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 20:33:48-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Hotel Henry, the upscale hotel and conference center that brought a mothballed masterpiece from Buffalo's rich past back to life and attracted the eyes of the world just months after opening, has become the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospitality destination, including its popular restaurant 100 Acres: The Kitchens at Hotel Henry, will close February 27.

"Given the ongoing operational restrictions and challenges of the evolving pandemic environment, Sublessor, Richardson Center Development Corporation and Sublesse, Hotel Henry, have agreed to terminate the initial 10-year lease term in advance of the expiration of the agreement," said Hotel Henry Executive Diana Principe.

It is unclear exactly how many people will lose their job.

The management team says the 88-room Hotel Henry lost 75 percent of its projected revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic.

"Our focus is to get a tenant for the hotel portion of this property," said Mark Mortenson of the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

Mortenson says despite Tuesday's announcement, there is a lot of momentum on campus. Savarino Construction is expected to break ground this fall on a housing development with amenities for artists on the eastern side of the campus. Talks are ongoing to secure a developer for the western side as well, he said.

Hotel Henry debuted in April 2017 and quickly shot to the top of preferred destinations for everything from showers and weddings, to conferences and Sunday brunches.

It was named one of TIME magazine's 'World's Greatest Places of 2018.'

At the time of its opening, Governor Andrew Cuomo praised the redevelopment of the first three of 11 buildings on the campus as "one of the largest and most complicated historic preservation projects in the nation."

The massive, three-year project benefited from $76.5 million in state funds "and $16 million in historic tax credits via M&T Bank in a massive undertaking to modernize the campus and find profitable uses for the monumental structure," according to a news release at the time.

Last month, five current and former employees announced they are suing the hotel and conference center, claiming hotel managers withheld in excess of $800,000 in unpaid or misdistributed gratuities, improper wages, and unpaid commissions.