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Two new hotels get approval from Niagara Falls Planning Board

NIAGARA FALLS – The Niagara Falls Planning Board gave approval Wednesday night to two multimillion-dollar hotel projects.

Improvements costing $12 million will convert the three-story Econolodge at Rainbow Boulevard and Second Street into a five-story, 118-room Best Western Inn Plus. The project also features a 4,000-square-foot restaurant facing Rainbow Boulevard, a rooftop terrace, balconies for rooms on Second Street and Rainbow Boulevard, a two-story lobby, 3,000 square feet of retail space on the fifth floor and a courtyard with a fire pit.

“It’s not going to look like the old building,” said project architect Jonathan H. Morris, who added that the hotel’s entrance would be moved to Second Street, which has less traffic.

The developers, he said, hope to work with the city to add street parking and also make median and pedestrian improvements to Rainbow Boulevard for restaurant patio seating.

Thomas J. DeSantis, the city’s senior planner, called the request for city improvements on Rainbow Boulevard “a very welcome element” that would enhance the use of the property.

Developers Nirel Patel and partner Matthew Green of Element Development hope to complete the project by April 2017.

Patel said his father, Babu Patel, has owned the Econolodge since 1996. He said this improvement will elevate the hotel from an economy hotel to an upper midscale hotel.

The other project is a $4 million Sleep Inn on Niagara Falls Boulevard. The three-story, 50-room hotel would replace the Cascades Inn at that site.

The developer, Ashish Shah of DSAV, and architect Jonathan E. Bennett said they hope to break ground in January.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com