A $20 million indoor water park, to be built beside a downtown Niagara Falls hotel, received a 12-year tax incentive package Wednesday from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
NFNY Hotel Management will save an estimated $6.6 million through reduced property taxes and exemptions from sales tax on building materials and equipment for its Niagara Daredevil Waterpark.
The facility, which projects 50 new jobs, would be constructed as an addition to the Sheraton at the Falls Hotel, 300 Third St. The park would be placed on a vacant lot owned by the City of Niagara Falls, which agreed two years ago to sell it to the hotel for $189,262 in a deal that has yet to close.
Geoffrey Reeds, spokesman for American Niagara Hospitality, a group which includes the Sheraton, said the company hopes to complete the land purchase this month.
NCIDA board member Joan G. Aul cast the only vote against the incentives.
"I just felt it was a little too aggressive," Aul said. "I wasn't comfortable that it was proven that it was needed."
In an interview after his presentation to the board last month, hotel owner Michael DiCienzo said the tax breaks were "needed to make the project successful."
The site is within easy walking distance of another planned water park, Uniland Development's Wonder Falls, which is to be placed in the former Rainbow Centre Mall at Rainbow Boulevard and Niagara Street. Empire State Development selected Uniland for that project and has refused to consider incentives for the competing water park.
The DiCienzo family's American Niagara Hospitality owns hotels on both sides of the international border, including Sheraton and Crowne Plaza hotels near Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ont., where a water park atop the parking garage serves both hotels.