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Niagara Falls Redevelopment has finally broken ground in Niagara Falls, beginning an excavation on its Falls Street property.

The action satisfies the developer's contract with the city and will eventually lead to the construction of a $12 million "hospitality and entertainment" project there, NFR spokesman Roger Trevino said.

"We are happy to announce that we commenced our project on Falls Street today," Trevino said Friday. The company has been issued its building permit, and the project has been approved by the Planning Board.

The contract gives NFR 24 months to complete its building, meaning structural work could begin a year from now and still meet terms of the company's deal with the city.

Trevino declined to offer a detailed construction schedule, noting that prospective tenants may wish to dictate internal or external features of the building.

The company, backed by Manhattan real estate billionaire Howard Milstein, promised projects in a 2003 contract with the city and ended lawsuits against the city.

In return, former Mayor Irene Elia let NFR buy the former Niagara Splash park for $3 million and renew its rights to about 140 acres east of Daly Boulevard. NFR exercised some of those rights to buy the former park at Falls and 10th streets.

Mayor Vince Anello said, "I've had the attitude since Jan. 1 of last year that all of us were going to do what we promised," Anello said. "We're going to continue to keep developers accountable with the same spirit that we keep our employees accountable."


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