In the final analysis, perhaps the most regrettable aspect of the Hamister/Empire State Dev. deal is not Hamister, but the state's decision not to seek an attraction for the site.
Niagara Falls - a city with plenty of three star hotels - but with virtually no attractions outside the Niagara Falls State Park - could have chosen to use 310 Rainbow Blvd., not for a six-story Hyatt Place, but for a world class attraction.
There was no rush. The rush was the concoction of state and city officials, who rushed the RFP and limited it breadth.
In retrospect this was the state that pushed to hurry up and get it wrong.
It is our opinion that 310 Rainbow Blvd. presents a once in a lifetime opportunity for something unique, renown and rare- just like its location.
Here is how the original RFP describes 310 Rainbow Blvd: "The Project Site literally sits at the 'front door' to downtown Niagara Falls… with major frontage on Old Falls Street… 300 feet from the entrance to Niagara Falls State Park." The site's "development has the potential to shape impressions and capitalize on the Park's millions of annual visitors." It is "Located within two blocks from the Rainbow Bridge Plaza, connecting Niagara Falls, NY to Niagara Falls, Ontario."
How did anyone think that the highest and best use for this key downtown property, within inches of the wonderland of Niagara Falls, was to build a smallish, short, three star Hyatt Place business type hotel?
How did it happen that it is now believed this is meritorious, that, if Hamister were suddenly able to arrange his financing - and overcome the challenge that his minor hotel at its astronomically inflated price, will be financeable, that this is an achievement. That a puny hotel is victory for Niagara Falls.
310 Rainbow Blvd., is a property where a building could be built tall and capture the views available nowhere else in the world.
This is the property that could site an attraction that will bring people downtown of their own accord, or keep them here longer - after they've spent their four hours in the State Park seeing the falls before scurrying off to Canada or elsewhere - where Hyatt Places are confined to airports and exit ramps - and in the most prestigious and critical key locations - they take their time and try to do it right.