The developer's hospitality arm got the green light from the Buffalo Planning Board Monday night for its proposal to upgrade and transform the 50-year-old structure, which was originally built by Nathan Benderson in 1966.
At the same time, workers will update the interior and reduce the number of rooms from 167 standard rooms to 105 larger units designed for longer guest stays. Interior demolition work has already begun, under a permit issued by the city.
Plans call for stripping the facade of the eight-story building down to the concrete frame and then rebuilding it with a more modern look, according to documents submitted to the Planning Board. That includes adding a new curtain wall with a thin half-inch individual brick veneer, with a fiberglass-reinforced concrete pre-cast base and decorative metal cornice on top.
The hotel's public spaces -- including its lobby, ground-floor commercial space and basement levels -- will be completely renovated, with updated mechanical, electrical and fire-protection systems. The rooftop penthouse will also be renovated with natural colors, while the porte cochere entrance will be updated to match the proposed new architecture.
Benderson will not add any floors to the building at 618 Delaware, and the overall site "will pretty much stay the same," with some additional landscaping, said James Rumsey, an architect for Benderson and its Buffalo Lodging LLC affiliate, which will operate the new hotel.
Eventually, officials plan to enclose the pool for year-round use by guests, but that project will come back to the Planning Board at a later date, he said, as will proposed signage on the outside of the building.
"This is a much more engaging building for Delaware Avenue than what has been there for decades, by far," said board member Cynthia Schwartz.
The hotel had been operated for decades under a lease with Buffalo-based Hart Hotels, but Benderson retook full control this year after that lease expired. The $8.15 million project has already been approved by the Preservation Board, and is expected to be completed by July 2017.