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Work is underway on $30 million Chautauqua Harbor Hotel

A new "destination hotel" on Chautauqua Lake is expected to open in July 2018.

Hart Hotels of Buffalo and Krog Corp. of Orchard Park have teamed up for the $33 million project to build the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron, on waterfront land just east of the Lucille Ball Memorial Park.

Work began 10 weeks ago and is expected to last about 15 months. The companies will mark the progress with a formal "ground-breaking" ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday, Hart Hotels President David Hart said.

The tourism project, which is expected to be one of the largest private-sector projects in the Southern Tier county, is in line for more than $3.5 million in state economic development funding.

The 9-acre site at 10 Dunham Ave. sits just west the lighthouse in Celoron and has 1,100 feet of lakefront land. It’s part of the former Celoron Amusement Park, which closed in 1962, though the old foundation wall is still there.

Plans call for 135 guest rooms and suites and will also include a 300-person lakeview ballroom and banquet space, a business center, conference space, indoor and outdoor pools, a full-service restaurant and bar known as the Lakeview Grille and a large outdoor patio.

A rounded pier will extend into the lake, with a bridge to a manmade island that was originally built for a swing ride at the old amusement park. Hart and Krog will restore the island and bridge, which will be used as a venue for performances, wedding pictures or other activities. A carousel bar will be located at the shore end of the bridge.

Hart previously cited the proximity to the Chautauqua Institute, the resorts at Holiday Valley and Peak 'n Peek, the new Comedy Museum and Hall of Fame in Jamestown, and markets in Pennsylvania and Ohio as draws for the hotel, as well as seasonal summertime and corporate travel.

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, on behalf of the developers, sought $2.8 million in state funding through the competitive awards to support the tourism project, but the project ultimately received $1.9 million. It also received a $750,000 community development block grant economic development award from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, to help with furniture, fixtures and equipment, while supporting the creation of 81 jobs. The project will also receive tax breaks from the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.

Hart, which runs 12 hotels with more than 2,000 guest rooms and more than 900 employees, also operates Harbor Hotels in Watkins Gle; Clayton, which is in the Thousand Islands region; and Portland, Maine. The Chautauqua hotel will have 30 more guest rooms, 50 percent more function and meeting space, and a 50 percent larger lakeside patio than the Thousand Islands resort.

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