Jemal in "final stages" of negotiations to operate former Hotel Henry

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 12:29:15-04

BUFFALO (WKBW) — Developer Douglas Jemal is close to adding another "gem" to his growing Buffalo portfolio.

Mark Mortenson, the President of the Richardson Olmsted Campus, tells 7 Eyewitness News that negotiations with Jemal on a long-term lease to operate the former Hotel Henry are nearing completion.

"We are in the final stages of the lease for the hotel portion of the property", says Mortenson.

Mortenson added that the board which is the steward for the Richardson Olmsted Campus recently approved the fundamentals of the lease leaving the final detailed negotiations to the Executive Committee. He says it's difficult to predict an exact timeline, but that a deal is "imminent".

"We are so excited to partner with Douglas Development on these projects and look forward to other opportunities", said Mortenson.

Douglas Jemal
Developer Douglas Jemal says the Richardson Olmsted Campus is "an absolute gem of a campus setting, second to none"

Jemal has been pursuing a lease on the Richardson Olmsted Campus since the hotel shut down in February and recently told 7 Eyewitness News "I think we are close" when asked about negotiations.

"It's an absolute gem of a campus setting, second to none", said Jemal, who plans to rename the hotel the single initial R "if I'm lucky enough to get it".

Jemal is also in negotiations to renovate 7 of the western buildings on the Richardson Olmsted Campus. Mortenson says those negotiations are also "nearing closure".

"The architecture of the buildings is absolutely magnificient", said Jemal. "The challenge is to put it all back together again. I like that"

Jemal also owns Seneca One and the Statler. Douglas Development is also in the final stages of acquiring the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Buffalo which he hopes to open in the fall.

About the Richardson Olmsted Campus:

"One of Buffalo’s most iconic buildings and a National Historic Landmark, the 145-year-old Richardson Olmsted Campus is being renewed after years of neglect. Designed by great American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and the famed landscape team of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the building incorporated a system of enlightened treatment for people with mental illness."

To lean more about the campus' fascinating history, click here.