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Construction of new Niagara Falls hotel to start in November

NIAGARA FALLS – Construction of a new $22 million to $25 million Doubletree by Hilton hotel on Buffalo Avenue is expected to start by the end of next month.

Partial demolition of the former Fallside Hotel at 401 Buffalo Ave. is scheduled to begin in two weeks, the project architect told the city Planning Board Wednesday night.

“We’re going to be working all winter long,” said James E. Boy, of Roberts, Shackleton & Boy, a Cheektowaga engineering and architecture firm. Construction on the project, being undertaken by Merani Hospitality LLC, will begin before demolition wraps up, Boy said.

The new hotel will include a nine-story, 84-foot tower – which will overlook the Niagara River – with the top two floors consisting of between 14 and 18 one-bedroom suites. The hotel, whose main entrance will be on Buffalo Avenue, will have between 193 and 195 rooms, depending on how many suites are included.

The construction work that starts before the demolition is completed will include building the tower’s foundation.

Most of the existing four-story building along the Robert Moses Parkway that was part of the Fallside is being demolished. The part that is being kept will be used for hotel rooms and banquet space, Boy said. The two banquet rooms, to be located on the first two floors, will be able to hold 450 and 250 people, respectively.

The hotel also will have a pool, as well as a restaurant and bar in the lobby area near the new front entrance on Buffalo Avenue. The restaurant also will have an outdoor eating area facing the river.

In terms of the inner-workings of the facility, it will have an indoor loading dock and indoor trash compactor.

In total, demolition is expected to take between two and two-and-a-half months. Construction is expected to take 18 months, with completion in March or April 2016, Boy said.

In March, project officials said demolition on the project would start as early as late April or early May of next year. On Wednesday, they said they have been dealing with regulators on asbestos issues at the site.

The Planning Board approved the project’s site plan by a 6-0 vote.

Earlier this year, the project was granted variances to allow it to have 60 extra parking spaces, as well as setback exceptions. The project also previously was granted a height variance to allow it to exceed height restrictions in that area.

The project was previously described as having an eight-story tower, but it is technically nine stories due to the sloped site, said Andrew Marino, site engineer for Tredo Engineers of Buffalo.

The state previously awarded a $2 million loan and a $750,000 grant for the project.

The Merani hotel group, a Canadian hotelier, also owns the Four Points by Sheraton and the Holiday Inn, both on Buffalo Avenue.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com