Competition from nearby new and renovated hotels has prompted the owners of a 53-year-old Delaware Avenue hotel to invest more than $1.8 million in their own upgrades.
Brothers Dennis and Frank Tripi are redoing all the guest rooms and bathrooms in the Best Western Inn on the Avenue, as part of a top-to-bottom renovation of the 63-room hotel at 510 Delaware.
The goal is to keep pace or even get ahead of their rivals in downtown Buffalo, including many that either recently opened or already have undergone extensive upgrades.
Those include the new Buffalo HarborCenter Marriott, the Courtyard by Marriott at Canalside, the Embassy Suites at the Avant, the Curtiss Hotel, and the Westin Buffalo at the new Delaware North Building, in addition to the boutique Mansion on Delaware and the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.
Others are now under construction or rehab, such as Ellicott Development Co.'s planned new hotel at 500 Pearl, the rebranded Wyndham Garden Hotel on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and Benderson Development's wholesale conversion of the Holiday Inn into a Residence Inn.
"We're surrounded by all these high-end hotels," said Dennis Tripi. "Buffalo has some nice hotels now and we're just trying to compete with them."
Tripi noted that many hotels will renovate one floor at a time in a given year, so they end up with a mix of dated and new rooms. But they're trying to do the renovation all at once, with hopes of completing the work by May 1.
As part of the job, workers are putting in new carpeting, wallpaper and drapes, as well as installing new televisions and soffit lighting. The hotel also has 10 rooms with Jacuzzi tubs, but the owners are taking those out and replacing them with soaking tubs instead. There are also five larger suites in the mix.
The Tripis are also seeking approval from both the Buffalo Preservation Board and Best Western International to construct a new $90,000 porte cochere entrance to replace the existing carport.
"It's not large enough, so we felt we'd change the look of it a little bit and dress it up a bit," he said. "We're making it a little more contemporary now."
This isn't the first renovation for the hotel, which was built in 1965 and has been owned by the Tripis for more than 35 years. The Best Western was reskinned in 2000, and "it still looks pretty good right now."