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Iskalo Development to unveil new brand for Lord Amherst

Iskalo Development Corp. plans to unveil its long-awaited new name and brand for the former Lord Amherst Motor Lodge on Monday, as ongoing efforts continue to transform it into a new boutique hotel.

The Williamsville-based developer is spending $19.9 million on its renovation of the historic hotel at the intersection of Main Street and the Youngmann Expressway.

The new facility will be an upper mid-scale independent hotel, with updated and upgraded features similar to the Hyatt Place Hotel that Iskalo built on part of the sprawling property behind it. But the company has not revealed any other details about the hotel or the new name until now.

Originally opened in 1962, the Lord Amherst was continually owned and operated by the Genrich family until Iskalo bought it in 2011. The property, while still operating, had languished without major investment for years, and Iskalo saw significant opportunity for redevelopment and growth of the prime location, with grand plans for two hotels and a restaurant.

It faced significant and vocal opposition from neighbors, who objected to the idea of a new six-story, 137-room hotel overlooking their tranquil community and pond. The developer eventually won, and the $20 million Hyatt is now open for business, allowing Iskalo to focus on the Lord Amherst.

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Iskalo Development also faced challenges with that project, as costs ballooned from the original $10 million because of the need for environmental cleanup and extensive work. Iskalo received $1.07 million in tax breaks from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency in 2012, but was denied in March when it applied for another $1.1 million in tax incentives to help with the added expenses.

It sued the agency, which lost in state Supreme Court in August. The IDA has appealed the decision.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com

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