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OCT 07- OCT 14, 2014

WGRZ Joins Reporter and Gets it; Hamister Hotel Doubtful...

By Mike Hudson

October 07, 2014

Of the proposed, 100-room, mid-sized, mid-scale Hamister hotel, Paul Dyster said, "That's a game-changer if ever there was one, folks." Dyster also called it the “tipping point” development of Niagara Falls.
The Niagara Falls Reporter never did see building a mediocre, smallish hotel on the most valuable acre of undeveloped land in Niagara Falls as the right thing to do. We also have serious doubts about the reality of the project. Now that the hotel has been downgraded and delayed, details in the contract suggest that it may not be built in 2015, or for that matter 2016 either.

Good on ye, WGRZ.

While the Niagara Falls Reporter has been on the tail of do-nothing developer Mark Hamister and his maybe, maybe not hotel project for more than a year, the television station last week did a report echoing many of our concerns.

They got to interview Mayor Paul Dyster, an opportunity not often available to this newspaper. Dyster stuttered and stumbled through the interview, making excuses for Hamister and saying, somewhat equivocally, that the developer has the funding in place to go forward.

Reporter Dave Mckinley asked Dyster about Hamister, "Has he got financing, are you confident of that?

Dyster responded, "Uh… yes."

"Is that a resounding 'yes?"

"Yes. Yes that's a… Mr. Hamister volunteered to me that the… the… you know, the banking end of this thing was, was fine and not an issue…"

Construction of the new hotel would break ground next summer, he said, and the hotel would be open by the summer of 2016.

Dyster, of course, said differently last year, when the Hamister hotel deal was a hot button issue in the city council elections.

Last November, popular Councilman Sam Fruscione was defeated after being branded as an obstructionist by Dyster, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Charles Schumer and others for questioning the Hamister project.

Fruscione was simply asking why the city was handing over a prime piece of downtown real estate, appraised at more than $1.5 million, to Hamister, a politically connected health care industry executive, for a mere $100,000.

No one ever satisfactorily answered his questions, but they didn’t have to. He was running for re-election and one of the most massive and well-funded campaigns in Niagara Falls history was mounted against him.

The matter was urgent, Dyster and Fruscione’s other enemies claimed. If approval of the deal wasn’t granted, Hamister would be unable to begin his grandiose project in March of this year, as he claimed was necessary.

Fruscione was voted out of office, the deal was approved and March came and went without Hamister doing anything.

The project was then downgraded, according to a Hamister news release, from being a resort style grand hotel to being a Hyatt Place, which is kind of a low rent Hyatt brand usually found at freeway exits adjacent to airports.

Hamister declined to speak to WGRZ, issuing a statement saying that he would be glad to talk after “architectural details” of his make believe hotel were worked out.

In reality, other than the money given him by the state and the property gifted him by the taxpayers of Niagara Falls, Hamister doesn’t seem to have the money necessary to build a shoe shine stand, much less a hotel.





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Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
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