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Frank A. Amendola on Monday got a deed and easement to a sliver of the Niagara Office Building that will allow him to pursue plans for an interactive entertainment center in conjunction with the Ira G. Ross Niagara Aerospace Museum.

The Urban Renewal Agency gave Amendola clear title to the property, which includes an underground tunnel to the Convention & Civic Center and the access from the building to the tunnel. Amendola plans to build a three-story addition along the south facade of the office building, which he owns, to accommodate the interactive entertainment center. Agency members were told that the city has never used the property and has no use for it now.

Later in the day, Raymond T. O'Keefe, executive director of the aviation museum, told the City Council his board and Amendola are close to agreeing on a lease for space on the first three floors of the building. The museum wants to relocate from converted commercial space in Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield.

"We're trying to build a family-oriented attraction in downtown Niagara Falls," said O'Keefe, adding he would probably come back to the Council for support as the project moves forward.

Amendola said a lease with the aerospace museum is 98 percent complete and he expects to announce a deal by Monday. He said the museum hopes to reopen by Easter. The office building at 345 Third St. has display and auditorium space on its first three floors that is not suitable for office use.

Also Monday, agency members approved a $6,500 contract with Olson & Terzian of Buffalo for a structural engineering study of the United Office Building. John C. Drake, executive director of the agency, said deterioration of the brickwork on the north side of the building and the terra cotta on the facade has been detected this year. Niagara Falls Redevelopment, which has an option on the building, will be billed for most of the cost of the study.

The votes were postponed from last week due to lack of a quorum.


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