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Hamister’s Top-Floor Banquet Room Will be Nice, But Could be Better

By Frank Parlato

There will be a view from the proposed Hamister hotel banquet room that will be similar to the view from the Days Inn Banquet room on Main Street, which was built without taxpayer subsidy.

As the Niagara Gazette reported last Sunday, Mark Hamister, the CEO of the Hamister Group, said his company’s planned five-story hotel will have "a top floor banquet room with access to a 5,000 square-foot patio overlooking the Niagara Gorge and Niagara Falls State Park."

"We’re not going to just put the banquet center on the first floor in a box," Hamister told the Gazette. "We’re going to put the banquet center on the roof with windows."

Actually, the rooftop patio and fifth floor banquet room may be the best thing Hamister has offered and something Niagara Falls might actually need.

More banquet and meeting facilities that offer people views on the U. S. side of the Niagara Falls.

But let us put it in perspective: This view, which will be quite good, will not be the world class view it might have been.

I've spent years in a neighboring building - the all glass, nine-story, former Occidental Chemical offices, which I renamed One Niagara. I know the views the Hamister hotel will offer.

The hotel will be a five-story hotel, and a rooftop patio will indeed provide a picturesque view, especially when looking to the west, over the tops of the stately trees of the Niagara Falls State Park. It will take in a portion of the gorge and a panoramic view of the Niagara Falls, Ont., skyline with its skyscrapers and colorful lights, and Clifton Hill. It is a view that gives the impression that there is a city alive in the night.

When the people in Niagara Falls, Ont., look across the river to see the other Niagara Falls, they see mainly darkness at nighttime.

In any event, from its location on Rainbow Blvd., because of the low height, the Hamister Hotel will not afford a view of the falls themselves. But, from the rooftop, the rapids, at least in winter when foliage will not obstruct it, should be visible to banquet goers who look southwest.

In addition, there will nice views, to the south and north, of city streets and housetops and some of the parklands.

The view to the east, however, will not be inspiring, since the five-story Rainbow Mall and Ramp will be squatting directly in front of the windows.

Still, many of the views that face west, north, and south of the proposed Hamister hotel, will be picturesque from the third to fifth floor. One hopes the rooms will be provided with ample windows.

And, if the rooms facing east will be stark, with the Rainbow Mall and Ramp being the view, the lower floor rooms facing north will not be much better. They offer a view of the parking lot at One Niagara.

And the rooms on the first two floors facing west will be worse, offering only the view of the back wall of the Hard Rock Café building or its large, flat roof.

In the final analysis, this Hamister hotel proposal was a missed opportunity to create a skyline over here. The Hamister hotel set the table - completed the picture - for a low-rise downtown.

It makes one almost lament over the views that could have been achieved at this site - only steps from Niagara Falls - had it been determined to build higher.

One wishes this prime property had been developed as a high rise. That would take advantage of one of the few undeveloped properties on the U.S. side of the falls that is close enough that a view could be had of the entire vista surrounding the falls.

If that proposed building had been a 15-story building or better, every succeeding view above the fifth floor would have been progressively more spectacular. The higher stories - where a top story banquet room could have been developed - would take the breath away of visitors around the world.

As it is, it will be a nice view, but it could have been world class.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

SEP 24, 2013