Plans call for a seven-story, 120-room hotel to be built on a vacant lot in downtown Niagara Falls, perhaps assisted by tax breaks from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
In an estimated $17.8 million project, the Strangio family, owners of Plati Niagara Inc., also plans to erect three two-unit, two-story apartment buildings on the 1.5-acre lot at 311 Rainbow Blvd.
The new hotel would be the region's first Cambria Hotel, a Choice Hotels brand. The site is located next to Plati's 110-room Wingate by Wyndham at 333 Rainbow Blvd., a $10.2 million hotel that opened in April 2015.
"Cambria is upscale and Wingate is upper mid-scale," said Frank Strangio, one-third owner of the company with his father, Antonio, and his brother Anthony.
But he said in Niagara Falls, it's location that counts, and the new hotel would be located within walking distance of Niagara Falls State Park.
The Strangio family also operates the Quality Inn at 7708 Niagara Falls Blvd.
"We've been with Choice Hotels for 30 years at the Quality Inn," Frank Strangio said.
In early 2017, Strangio went before the city Planning Board to ask for the city to abandon an alley between the Wingate and Cambria sites, but the board tabled the request. The resident of a home on Buffalo Avenue who had access to the alley protested the idea.
Strangio then decided to alter the plan for the new hotel so it would fit on the lot without having to take the alley.
"We came up with a better plan," he said Wednesday. "This project is a win-win for us, for the city and for the resident."
Strangio is seeking a 10-year property tax reduction, along with a sales tax exemption on building materials and furnishings and a mortgage recording tax exemption. The incentives would save Plati Niagara an estimated $2.5 million over 10 years.
The hotel would have a bar and restaurant, a fitness center and a small amount of meeting space. Leisure travelers are its target market, Strangio said.
The project would create an estimated 15 full-time and 20 part-time jobs in the first three years, according to the company's NCIDA application. The agency canceled its scheduled meeting Wednesday because of the lack of a quorum, but the project will be on the agenda when the meeting is rescheduled.
Strangio said he anticipates groundbreaking next summer and an 18-month construction period.
Plati acquired the site from Frank Deni of Buffalo for $809,000 in December 2016, according to Niagara County land records. Deni had owned it since 1980.