A new Courtyard by Marriott hotel is open in a 105-year-old Niagara Falls building that began its history as a chocolate factory and later became the headquarters of Moore Business Forms.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cut the ribbon Thursday on the $12.8 million hotel, which had already gone through a "soft opening."
"It was very tastefully done. It was intelligently done. It was respectfully done. This, architecturally, appreciates the history, appreciates the heritage and keeps it alive," Cuomo said.
The hotel owners, B.F. Patel and Pragna Patel, received $1.25 million in incentives from USA Niagara Development Corp., a local subsidiary of Empire State Development, and a $250,000 grant from the NFC Development Corp., a Niagara Falls city agency.
Also, the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency granted the project a 10-year tax break in 2013.
The project added two floors to what was originally a two-story building and created an 82-room hotel with 4,700 square feet of retail space.
The hotel at 900 Buffalo Ave. is part of a recent hotel building boom in the Falls. Eight hotels that are either open, under construction or expanding have received state incentives totaling $9.25 million, adding 1,030 rooms to the city's hotel inventory. The costs of the eight projects total $260 million.
The 69,700-square-foot building was erected in 1912 as the Niagara Chocolate Co., which supplied chocolate to the nearby Nabisco Shredded Wheat plant. Later, Moore Business Forms took it over, but the plant has been vacant since about 2010.
The Patels, operating under the name of Indian Ocean LLC, also own the Red Maple Hotel in Niagara Falls as well as the former Niagara Club property and the former Carborundum Co. headquarters, now called Niagara Business Center.
The Courtyard building houses a 5,000-square-foot penthouse office suite as the Patels' corporate headquarters.
"This was no small feat to do this project," said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development president and CEO.
He said the adaptive reuse of an old building will enhance Niagara Falls business and tourism and lead to longer stays by visitors.
"This hits all our buttons," Zemsky said.