All Developers Deserve Favor: Unless You’re Michael Dicienzo

In Niagara Falls

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrLinkedInRedditPinterestEmail this pagePrint this page

By Jamie Moses;

There’s a very old saying “when in Rome do as the Romans.” The saying originally appeared in 390 A.D. as advice in a letter from St. Augustine to the Bishop of Naples. St. Augustine, who had traveled extensively, was pointing out that it is wise to adopt the customs of wherever you are.

We bring this up because of a recent flare up over Canadian hotel developer Michael DiCienzo’s plan to build a $20 million “daredevil-themed” water park and a $50 million luxury hotel addition on top of his Sheraton at the Falls in Niagara Falls, NY.

Mike DiCienzo owns the Sheraton at the Falls.
Mike DiCienzo owns the Sheraton at the Falls.

In 2006 the Sheraton on the Ontario side of the Falls opened a 90,000 square foot water park, which has proven a successful year-round attraction over the last 10 years of operation.

The dustup started when DiCienzo made it known he was seeking some financial help from the state for his project and went to a Niagara Falls council meeting to enlist their support getting Empire State Development to chip in. Before I continue, let me make the point that in Canada the government doesn’t fund private development projects. In fact, another Canadian, Toronto developer Harry Stinson working on a $100 million restoration of Buffalo’s Central Terminal train station (his first project in the United States) said “It never occurred to me to ask for public money. I never heard of such a thing. We don’t do that in Canada.”

It never occurred to DiCienzo either until he started projects in New York. On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls Dicienzo’s family has invested over $800 million of their own money. But when in Rome do as the Romans and in New York every developer tries to get public money to offset expenses. DiCienzo’s been doing business in the U.S. for a number of years and he sees how the game is played here. Unfortunately, he never seems to win and the reason is usually political. WGRZ’s Dave McKinley reported that it looks like politics might scuttle DiCienzo’s plan to get state funding.

Rendering of proposed $50 million luxury hotel.
Rendering of proposed $50 million luxury hotel.

It wouldn’t be the first time. DiCienzo was the obvious best choice to develop an exciting hotel project on Rainbow Ave. that he proposed but that property was instead given to Governor Cuomo’s buddy Mark Hamister to build a mediocre scaled down hotel with a bloated budget and $9.5 million in combined state grants and tax breaks. Hamister’s project stalled for years. DiCienzo was also in the running to develop the old Rainbow Mall but again lost out to a local political insider, Carl Montante’s Uniland Development. Three years later the Uniland project still hasn’t even begun and it took 4 1/2 years for Hamister to even break ground on his hotel, which is still not open.

In spite of past experiences, DiCienzo thought it can’t hurt to ask for some help from the state, particularly since every other developer around seems to have state money showered on them. But Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti seemed outraged at his request. After the council meeting where DiCienzo unveiled his project showing the council architectural renderings Grandinetti said “We have a process in place and it doesn’t include soliciting money at a city council meeting. It was improper, inappropriate, and it never should have happened.”  Grandinetti wasn’t done. “I think it’s an insult to the mayor and I think it’s an insult to the economic development department,” she said.

Proposed "Daredevil" themed water park
Proposed “Daredevil” themed water park

Since when did a developer showing public officials his project and seeking state assistance for large multi-million dollar endeavor become “an insult?” Maybe it only applies to political outsiders and Canadians.

Referring to Hamister and Montante WGRZ’s McKinley said to DiCienzo “Those guys give a lot of money to the governor. Do you?”  “No, not a dime,” said DiCienzo. “Then do you think the state will help you,” asked McKinley. “That’s probably part of my predicament,” DiCienzo answered.

“But it’s very common for these other developers to get 10% to 20% of their projects funded,” DiCienzo said [Hamister got closer to 30%].  “It’s true I don’t make political donations but they should put politics aside and do what’s best for the people of Niagara Falls.”

Geoffrey Reeds, vice president of sales and marketing for American Niagara Hospitality, said DiCienzo wants assistance “commensurate with the level (the state has) provided to other hospitality projects.”

Waterpark 1

That might sound reasonable to most people but not to Niagara Falls mayor Paul Dyster. The mayor threw water on the idea of funding “…[Empire State Development] would not want to subsidize a water park project by the loser of the Rainbow Mall RFP (DiCienzo) next door to a water park project by the winner of the RFP (Montante),” Dyster said. The Uniland project, by the way, is already guaranteed state subsidies. No doubt Dyster is thrilled to have Montante doing something in Niagara Falls and doesn’t want that project threatened with competition. That’s small thinking.

Water parks actually work well in clusters as evidenced by the three in Niagara Falls, Ont., and the five in the Poconos. Ever notice how McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King are all usually within spitting distance of each other? How about drug stores? In North Buffalo there’s a spot with a Rite-Aid, a CVS and a Walgreens all kitty-corner from each other at the same intersection. It turns out having similar businesses in close proximity helps all boats rise. If Dyster had any sense he would pitch in and fight for DiCienzo not shoot him down.

When news got out that several people in Niagara Falls felt that DiCienzo was being treated unfairly Laura Magee, Empire State Development’s spokesperson snarkily replied that the allegation of unfair treatment comes from a developer whose property has already received nearly $7 million in public assistance from Empire State Development Corp. and its local subsidiary, USA Niagara Development Corp. over the last decade, the largest being a $6 million grant in 2006.

OK, Magee, but DiCienzo didn’t own the property in 2006. ESD gave that money to The Crowne Plaza Hotel, which was foreclosed on. Incredulously, Magee went on to say that said in addition to money [which he didn’t get], “Mr. DiCienzo has been the beneficiary of the reconstruction of Third and Falls streets as well as summer programming along Old Falls Street.”

In other words, don’t ask for help with your $70 million dollar project because we already planted a few trees on your street and hired a couple rock bands to play in the summer. That’s enough for you, mister!

For the record, let’s just note that DiCienzo has a lot of experience and runs several successful businesses on both sides of Niagara Falls. Here’s list of his successes:

 

RESORTS & HOTELS

Sheraton At The Falls

Days Inn At The Falls

JW Marriott Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa

ENTERTAINMENT

The Reef Beach Club & Pool

At the Falls Arcade

Rainforest Cafe

JW Marriott the Rosseau Recreation

RESTAURANTS

Rainforest Cafe

TGI Fridays

Starbucks

Niagara American Grill

Sweet Treats

The Muskoka Chophouse

Teca

Lakes

Cottages

The Deck

 

The point is that the DiCienzo’s have proven themselves as developers that follow through with their commitments, create jobs, grow the tax base and create memorable experiences for their guests. As a tourist destination that’s the kind of business people the City of Niagara Falls should be championing for not complaining about.

The $70 million proposal calls for luxury hotel rooms and a waterpark. The hotel would include a rooftop bar, infinity pool overlooking the casino, a celebrity restaurant and bar, along with meeting space and a fitness club.

The water park would have 12 slides, including the “Devil’s Hole” drop slide, which would take riders through the “Aqua-drop launch capsule,” where the floor drops out and a person would fall 250 feet in zero gravity into the “Devil’s Hole Bowl.”

There would be a 3,000-gallon shark tank in the oasis area of the water park called “The Reef Beach Club.” Also included would be a “tropical salt water lagoon” stocked with exotic fish, two hot tubs and changing rooms. Amenities in the “Devil Falls” section would include a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket and adventure course.

The company said it “looks forward to the opportunity to sit down and continue to negotiate the $70 million development” which it said would create 165 full-time jobs, add 108,000 additional room nights and generate about $6.5 million in annual tax revenue.

If people like councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and mayor Paul Dyster refuse support DiCienzo while at the same time hoist up failures like Mark Hamister then Niagara Falls will always remain stuck in its mud pit of bad politics.

 

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrLinkedInRedditPinterestEmail this pagePrint this page

You may also read!

69 commentsOn All Developers Deserve Favor: Unless You’re Michael Dicienzo

  • geez louise, have dyster & grandinetti never heard of WISCONSIN DELLS, called the water park capital of the world? what a bunch of narrow minded people, who claim to have the city’s best interests at heart (NOT). instead of knifing dicienzo in the back (yeah that’s exactly how i feel about grandinetti’s ridiculous, insulting comments), the city should be bending over backwards to get this project the funding dicienzo’s asking for. want families to say in the falls for more than 3 hours? then start by giving them a reason to stay on this side of the border. dyster & grandinetti are FOOLS & i can state EMPHATICALLY i’d vote for a feral cat before i’d vote for grandinetti!

  • I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to create such a wonderful informative website.

  • You’re absolutely correct, I would really like to learn more info on this particular subject! I’m also interested by how to attract a woman of your dream since I feel it truly is quite cool now. Keep it up!

  • Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to exchange strategies with other folks, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • Heya, what do you feel regarding garageband for ios? Very great matter, right?

  • Thank you for the good writeup. It in truth used to be a entertainment account it. Look complex to more brought agreeable from you! However, how can we keep up a correspondence?

  • I am really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you run into any kind of web browser interface situations? A few of my site visitors have lamented regarding my phone number locator website not working correctly in Explorer but appears awesome in Chrome. Have you got any kind of ideas to assist fix this matter?

  • I was conversing with a friend of my own around this and even about email account recovery too. I feel you made a few very good points here, we’re also excited to find out more stuff from you.

  • Ridiculous story there. What occurred after? Take care!

  • Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I
    am going to come back yet again since i have saved as a favorite it.
    Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to
    guide others.

  • I go to see every day some blogs and sites to read content,
    however this weblog presents quality based posts.

  • Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe that this website
    needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for
    the advice!

  • If you desire to take a good deal from this paragraph then you have
    to apply such methods to your won webpage.

  • What youre saying is completely true. It’s certainly an opinion I agree with.

  • Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am
    a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have developed some nice practices and we are looking to exchange techniques
    with others, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog site is in the exact same area of interest as yours
    and my visitors would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Appreciate it!

  • I?¦ve read several excellent stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot attempt you set to make this type of great informative website.

  • I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating
    on a number of the subjects you write concerning here.
    Again, awesome blog!

  • Hello, just wanted to say, I liked this article.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!

  • It’s in point of fact a great and useful piece of
    information. I am happy that you just shared this useful
    info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • For hottest news you have to go to see world-wide-web and on world-wide-web
    I found this web site as a most excellent website for latest updates.

  • Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues.
    It was really informative. Your website is useful. Thank you for sharing!

  • I will right away snatch your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription link
    or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me realize
    in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  • certainly like your web-site but you need to take a look at the
    spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife
    with spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to
    inform the truth on the other hand I will definitely come back again.

  • Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem
    on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • Thanks for another informative web site.

    Where else may I get that kind of information written in such a perfect means?

    I’ve a project that I am simply now running on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

  • I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future.
    Many thanks

  • Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a
    hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants
    to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  • Excellent pieces. Keep writing such kind of info on your site.

    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hello there, You’ve performed a great job. I’ll definitely digg
    it and in my view suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited
    from this site.

  • Hi there! I simply want to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you
    have here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your website for more soon.

  • It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this
    helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers
    and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  • Thanks for the marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
    you are a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your
    blog and will often come back from now on. I want to encourage continue your great
    work, have a nice afternoon!

  • A formidable share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit of analysis on this. And he in fact purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become experience, would you mind updating your blog with extra particulars? It is extremely helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog submit!

  • Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day.

    It’s always interesting to read through content from other writers and use a little
    something from other sites.

  • When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Cheers!

  • You’re certainly correct and I agree with you. If you want, we might as well speak around aptoide app, a thing that intrigues me. Your website is truly remarkable, regards!

  • Great beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I have been a little bit familiar of
    this your broadcast offered bright transparent idea

  • There are fantastic upgrades on the layout of this page, I really like that. My website is relating to lic new plan and right now there are a lot of things to be done, I am currently a newcomer in website development. Take good care!

  • You have made some good points there. I looked on the net for additional
    information about the issue and found most people will go along with your
    views on this site.

  • I always spent my half an hour to read this website’s content everyday along with a mug of
    coffee.

  • With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems
    of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My blog has a lot of unique content I’ve either authored
    myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the
    web without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help protect against content
    from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  • I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here
    regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  • Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to understand a lot about this,
    like you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with
    some % to drive the message home a bit, however other than that,
    this is great blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely
    be back.

  • I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road.
    Many thanks

  • Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really realize
    what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally consult with
    my website =). We could have a link change contract between us

  • There are actually a whole lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a nice point to convey up. I supply the ideas above as common inspiration however clearly there are questions just like the one you bring up where crucial thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly recognized as a good game. Both boys and girls feel the affect of just a second’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  • I relish, result in I found just what I used to be looking for.
    You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you
    man. Have a nice day. Bye

  • Fine way of explaining, and pleasant paragraph to get facts regarding
    my presentation topic, which i am going to deliver in university.

  • Hello to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from
    this web page, and your views are fastidious in favor of new viewers.

  • A formidable share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat evaluation on this. And he in actual fact bought me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you turn into expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more particulars? It is highly helpful for me. Huge thumb up for this blog post!

  • This is a topic that is near to my heart… Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

  • You could definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  • Ceviche bar! I experienced no notion Chifa experienced one particular! At some point!

  • It’s very easy to find out any topic on web as compared to books, as I found this article at this web page.

  • We stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought I may as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page for a second time.

  • Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?

  • I am just writing to let you know what a outstanding discovery my friend’s girl encountered using your blog. She came to find numerous things, not to mention how it is like to possess an amazing giving heart to make certain people effortlessly master chosen multifaceted matters. You truly exceeded visitors’ desires. Thanks for providing these powerful, dependable, edifying not to mention cool guidance on the topic to Kate.

  • This is my first time pay a quick visit at
    here and i am actually impressed to read all at alone place.

  • My brother suggested I might like this web site.
    He was entirely right. This post truly made my day.
    You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • I for all time emailed this webpage post page to all my contacts, for the
    reason that if like to read it after that my links will too.

  • Hello there! I simply want to give you a huge thumbs
    up for your great info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your
    website for more soon.

  • This info is worth everyone’s attention. When can I find out more?

  • It’s very trouble-free to find out any topic on web
    as compared to textbooks, as I found this piece of writing at this web
    page.

  • Hello, Neat post. There is an issue along with your web site
    in web explorer, could check this? IE still is the market leader and a huge portion of other folks will miss your wonderful writing because
    of this problem.

  • it does not take too long to learn good piano playing if you have a good piano lesson,,

  • Hey there, You have done an incredible job.
    I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I am sure they will be benefited from this web site.

  • I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the
    layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it
    is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

  • I do not even know the way I stopped up here, however I believed this put up
    was once good. I do not realize who you are however definitely you’re going
    to a famous blogger when you aren’t already. Cheers!

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Mobile Sliding Menu

© 2017 Niagara Falls Reporter
Scroll Up