WHEATFIELD – A new downtown Niagara Falls hotel and a vegetable greenhouse in Wheatfield were granted tax breaks Wednesday by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
Plati Niagara plans to erect a four-story, 110-room Wingate by Wyndham Hotel at Rainbow Boulevard and Fourth Street in the Falls, a block from the Seneca Niagara Casino.
The $9.6 million project will include 4,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, which owner Frank Strangio said was being considered for a chain restaurant. That affiliation has yet to be completed.
Plati Niagara is a holding company created by the Strangio family, which owns Antonio’s Banquet & Conference Center and a Quality Inn on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the city.
The 65,000-square-foot building will be the beneficiary of a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement, which will include an exemption from mortgage recording taxes and from sales taxes for building materials and furnishings and equipment for the hotel.
The tax abatements will save Plati Niagara an estimated $1.5 million over the next decade. Strangio said he hopes that construction on the hotel, which is estimated to bring 25 to 30 full-time jobs, can start this fall, although the architectural planning has not yet been completed.
The only other Wingate hotel in Western New York is located in Ellicottville. Strangio described it as an “upper middle-scale” brand.
Also on Wednesday, Power Greenhouse Integration received a 15-year PILOT and sales tax exemption for a $24 million acquisition and expansion of the former Fortistar greenhouse on Shawnee Road in Wheatfield.
The project will include construction of a natural gas-fired cogeneration power plant next to the existing 12½-acre greenhouse, and the expected construction of another 6-acre greenhouse.
Fortistar was growing tomatoes in the greenhouse as recently as January. The new owners intend to add other types of vegetables to the lineup, including cucumbers and leafy greens.
The tax abatement will save the out-of-state company nearly $2 million over the next 15 years. The new firm, incorporated in Florida but expected to have its headquarters in North Carolina, plans to employ 20 to 30 people this year, growing to 100 workers within three years, according to its IDA application.
In other matters, Chairman Scott P. Kiedrowski officially resigned from the board. He said he would do so April 24, when he succeeded to the chairmanship of the Niagara County Republican Committee after Michael J. Norris of Lockport resigned to become Town of Lockport attorney.
Kiedrowski, who is city clerk-treasurer in North Tonawanda, served only two months on the IDA board. Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker is vice chairman but said he doesn’t want the IDA chairmanship permanently.
“I will fill in for as long as they want me to,” Tucker said.