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$24 million later, Curtiss Hotel due for April opening

The long-awaited Curtiss Hotel is scheduled to open on Franklin Street in April.

Nearly eight years after the project was first proposed – and after multiple construction delays – the bulk of the work on the $24 million project is complete. The building’s infrastructure, elevators, mechanical systems, walls and floor coverings are in place.

[PHOTO GALLERY: A look inside the Curtiss Hotel]

Crews are putting finishing touches on the building, from the elaborate decor of the lobby and guest rooms, to the installation of furniture and fixtures in the six-story boutique hotel.

They’re also finalizing amenities such as a revolving first-floor bar, an enclosed outdoor patio, a rooftop lounge and a Roman bath and spa.

When it opens, the white terra cotta former office building at Franklin and West Huron streets will feature 67 guest rooms and suites, and one long-term residential unit. Rooms will feature high-end Italian and Turkish marble, dark wood furniture, remote-control toilets with heated seats, jet tubs and steam showers.

Painters work in a hallway at the Curtiss Hotel in January in Buffalo. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

“When this is done, there’s not going to be anything like it in Buffalo,” said owner Mark Croce, who also owns Statler City and multiple downtown restaurants.

The conversion of the long-vacant 57,560-square-foot Harlow C. Curtiss Building at 204-216 Franklin has been underway since 2015 and included the site of the former Continental Building and nightclub, which were torn down. The project, which had been held up while Croce first focused on the Statler, has already benefited from $685,000 in Erie County Industrial Development Agency sales and mortgage tax breaks, $1.35 million in Restore NY funds, National Grid grants and city property tax breaks.

Croce this month filed a revised application with ECIDA seeking an additional $438,750 in tax breaks, because the project was expanded to include a rooftop patio bar that is three times the size of what was originally planned, and a sidewalk cafe.

The new hotel will be part of Choice International’s Ascend Collection of independent hotels, which includes the Giacomo in Niagara Falls and Salvatore’s Grand in Cheektowaga. Room rates will range from $189 to $599 a night.“Every room is unique,” Croce said.

The hotel will also feature a first-floor, fine-dining restaurant with 120 seats, named Chez Ami to harken to an earlier Delaware Avenue establishment. An outside sidewalk patio was added to the plans last summer after Croce and the city agreed to bump out the sidewalk. In all, the facility can seat over 200 for food and drink in various venues.

Elevator lobby entrance detail was custom designed by Gary Bolles and sculpted by Leo Lysy of Buffalo Architectural Casting in Buffalo. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

The spa also will be open to the public through memberships, and the building’s lower level will offer a fitness center, a boutique men’s hair and nail salon, and two massage rooms operated by Leon Studio One, as well as a second commercial kitchen, laundry area and employee break room.

Croce invested $850,000 in a pair of high-speed elevators with bronze-finish doors and hand-crafted designs by Buffalo Architectural Plaster around the frame.

“There’s a lot of things here that nobody has,” he said. “The place is going to be fabulous.”

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