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Hotel Henry representatives clarify hotel's future

Posted at 5:20 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 15:59:10-05

BUFFALO, NY. (WKBW) — “They just totally blindsided us,” Jonathan Rowan explained.

The 30-year old from Clarence and his fiancé, Nina, were originally scheduled to have their wedding reception at Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center last September. But, because of the pandemic, they postponed it until September of 2021.

Tuesday, the hotel announced it was permanently closing at the end of the month.

“Now we’re back to the drawing board. It’s unfortunate,” he said.

Rowan said he received an email from Hotel Henry event staff shortly after the news broke indicating his reception is canceled. But, it’s still unclear when he can expect to be reimbursed thousands of dollars he put down on the venue.

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Hotel Henry Company Member, Dennis Murphy told 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ali Touhey the news wasn’t scheduled to be released until Friday, which is why some guests may have found out by the media.

“Because the information surfaced sooner than expected, and I can’t explain how, we accelerated the release of the information within an hour.”

Murphy also clarified confusion about the hotel’s future after an advertisement on the Hilton Hotel website showed reservations at Hotel Henry would be available for booking in the future. He said the hotel has had a franchise agreement with Curio Collection by Hilton since 2019. The partnership is nothing new, and doesn’t mean Hilton will be re-opening the hotel itself.

The assumption flew to Hilton was taking over,” Murphy said. “It was always affiliated with our business,” he added.

Hotel Henry is part of the Richardson Olmsted Campus. It also clarified the hotel’s future in a statement:

“The Richardson Olmsted Campus has no agreement with Hilton Hotels. Any public indication or implication that Hilton is maintaining operations of Hotel Henry on the Richardson Olmsted Campus is false. As Hotel Henry’s landlord, the Richardson Olmsted Campus was not aware of any finalized, executed agreement with Hilton Hotels. With Hotel Henry ending operations at the campus, any relationship or conversations that Hotel Henry previously had or engaged with Hilton does not transfer to the Richardson or to a future tenant of the campus.

The Richardson Olmsted Campus is not responsible for or liable to Hotel Henry’s operations and relationships with any vendors, partners and guests. Anyone who has business with Hotel Henry must continue working with them directly, as it is in no relation to the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

The Richardson Olmsted Campus is actively pursuing a new tenant for the buildings previously occupied by Hotel Henry, which include the Towers building and the two adjacent buildings on the east and west sides of the Towers. It is the organization’s top priority to identify an ongoing use for this National Historic Landmark asset. At this time, all options are being pursued.

Positive redevelopment opportunities are currently underway. In 2019, Savarino Companies was granted exclusive development rights for two buildings on the eastern side of the campus totaling 80,000 square feet for housing and artist amenity spaces.”

Buffalo Business First is reporting prominent developer Douglas Jemal is also interested in taking over the hotel. When reached by phone on Wednesday, he said “no comment.”