BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Douglas Jemal has his eyes on another big property in downtown Buffalo. The developer, who already owns Seneca One Tower and the Statler City complex, is now in talks to buy the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.
Jemal confirms with 7 Eyewitness News that he is in negotiations to purchase the $20.7 million mortgage of the downtown hotel. "We bought the note and obviously the note is a step forward in the underlying real estate", said Jemal on Wednesday. He declined to the reveal the terms of the offer.
The Hyatt Regency Buffalo is currently owned by the Snyder Corporation. Jemal says he had a meeting with officials from the Snyder Corporation this week to discuss a "deed-in-lieu of foreclosure" deal to streamline the process of acquiring the property. "We met with them to see if we could work something out collectively that is fair for everyone. It makes it easier if people are cooperating rather then waiting three months to go through the courts."
The 396-room hotel and conference center was shut down in April during the height of the pandemic in New York. Jemal plans to reopen the hotel as soon as he's able to officially acquire it. "There are some 200 jobs that have been lost in that hotel. It's a pretty significant blow to the city."
When Jemal purchased the Statler City complex in May he originally planned to renovate the downtown landmark as a mixed use facility that included hotel rooms. Jemal says owning both the Hyatt and the Statler would change those plans as he looks to build around the Buffalo Convention Center.
"The Hyatt just adds a whole other dimension. It clarifies things and makes it a whole lot simpler. It is a convention center hotel adjacent to the convention center. What I would like to do is connect the Statler, to the convention center, to the Hyatt.
"This is huge. This really takes care of that whole Niagara Square. I couldn't afford to let this fall into the wrong hands.", said Jemal.
Jemal says plans for the Statler would now shift to focus more on residential and office space. He also wants add a gaming component.
As Jemal works through the deal to acquire the Hyatt he says he is currently in negotiations to add another tenant at Seneca One Tower. The new tenant should be announced "very soon."
M&T Bank is the anchor tenant of the 38-story tower. Serendipity Labs, 43North, Techstars and Odoo are also signed on as tenants.
Jemal purchased Seneca One out of foreclosure in 2016 and the redevelopment of the landmark tower in Buffalo is being done by his Douglas Development Corporation based in Washington, DC.