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TWO DEVELOPERS WANT TO ERECT HOTEL NEAR ICE ARENA

Two developers are now interested in developing a new hotel on the city's west side near the proposed dual-rink ice arena.

Officials with R&D Construction Management Services of Buffalo on Friday announced plans to build a $4.5 million to $5 million 80-room hotel if given developer status for the project.

A similar proposal has been made by Dunkirk businessman Previn "Jay" Patel to the Center City Development Corp., but, R&D is the first of the two to make its intentions known publicly.

James Comerford Jr., president of R&D, made the announcement at the site where the hotel would be built: the southwest corner of West Third and Washington streets.

"We wanted them to know that we're ready to go with the development on the site for a hotel, and we want to notify everybody, and kind of put everybody's feet to the fire, because I know that everyone else is interested in getting this thing moving so that it would coincide with the construction of the ice arena," Comerford said.

In addition to city officials, Comerford indicated his company also has talked with Gebbie Foundation Executive Director Thomas Cardman as well as officials with the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency and the Greater Jamestown Empire Development Zone. He added that most of those discussions have been "very positive."

Comerford said his company is interested in pursuing other projects in the four-block area that takes in the $10 million to $12 million ice arena. He said they've been in contact with theater, restaurant and retail shop operators.

While Comerford was pushing to have the project move forward, he also recognized the property still has to be acquired by the Center City Development Corp. through the IDA.

Steven Centi, city development director, indicated Friday that the corporation has stated its intention to purchase that parcel, as well as three others included in what's known as the Westside Revitalization Plan area between West Second and Fourth streets.

He noted that officials are still awaiting a fair-market appraisal of those properties by Southern Tier Appraisers.

Mayor Sam Teresi reiterated that it will be the Center City Development Corp., not the city, that will be granting developer status. Teresi added his office has also had discussions with Patel.

"Our approach is to assist both developers, see which project can be brought to fruition, and then do everything we can to assist those projects to actually happen," he said. "You have two credible developers both proposing significant projects for the downtown area, and that's something that we haven't had to contend with for a long time in this community."

Patel couldn't be reached to comment Friday.

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