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First North Buffalo hotel coming to former FWS on Elmwood

Developer Rocco Termini said Friday that Acqua will operate a 21-room boutique hotel and banquet space in the former FWS building at 1738 Elmwood Ave., which would make it the first hotel in North Buffalo.

Acqua, owned by William Koessler, operates a restaurant and banquet space at 2192 Niagara St., and Marquis de Lafayette at Hotel @ the Lafayette, where the company caters the Crystal and Grand ballrooms.

Koessler said that while he and Termini are still in negotiations, he is confident the hotel and banquet concept in an industrial environment will become a reality.

“It’s a market that’s underserved as far as lodging is concerned, and kind of a neat concept as far as a banquet facility. Taking warehouse space and making it into a cool and hip banquet facility is a very popular thing that’s going on in the Northeast markets,” Koessler said.

Termini also announced with Buffalo Spree owner Larry Levite that the publishing company will occupy 8,000 square feet on the first floor when the building is expected to open in June 2014.

Termini said all the commercial space in the 90,000-square-foot building has been rented, with other tenants including Utilant, a technology company, and a yoga business.

There also will be apartments that will rent for $950 for one bedroom, and $1,250 for two bedrooms.

Termini said the building will be designed in a contemporary style, with high ceilings, tall windows and natural brick.

“We’re very excited, and the staff is just thrilled,” said Levite of Buffalo Spree’s move to Buffalo from Corporate Parkway in Amherst, where it’s been for the past 13 years.

“We were attracted to Rocco’s reputation,” which is a big part of why the firm made the move, Levite said.

Termini said there will be lighting, sidewalk and other street improvements by the City of Buffalo and National Grid.

“We are making a walkable community,” the developer said.

In addition, a two-story 28,160-square-foot building at nearby 316 Grote St. is being converted to 22 apartments, with a tattoo parlor called Ink Inc. and a hair salon expected when the building is completed in September.