Seneca Spin Off? We don’t need no stinking spin off!

This commercial building at 1389 Niagara St. once housed shops on the first floor and nice little apartments upstairs. It has been derelict for years and is representative of the spinoff resulting from the opening of the Seneca Niagara Casino, almost directly across the street.
While there are no “nice” blacks on Niagara Street across the street from the Seneca Niagara Casino property, the 1300 block looks particularly bleak. Plywood covered storefronts and broken upper windows are par for the course and, in many of these shells, the last of the copper plumbing was stolen years ago.
Spinoff? We don’t need no stinking spinoff! When the Seneca Niagara Casino opened in 2001, Niagara Falls residents were promised a rebirth of the South End neighborhood surrounding it. Fifteen years later, what people have witnessed was a stillbirth instead.
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In addition to the unprecedented revival of business along Niagara Street, Seneca Niagara Casino employees were to have moved into the adjoining residential areas in droves, transforming the neighborhood.
This once stately Victorian residence at 462 Fourth Street — walking distance from the casino in even the worst weather — stands as an example of how well that idea panned out.
Had rosy predictions proven correct, structures like this apartment building at 511 Fourth Street would have been rehabbed and provided a home for employees of the Seneca Niagara Casino. The predictions weren’t even close.
Some structures are just too far gone, and those — like this old Fourth Street house, might have been torn down to make room for a cozy bungalow. It stands today, abandoned and derelict, just waiting for someone to hide a dead body in it.
“Zombie” houses like this one at 529 Fourth Street pride ample proof of the failure of vision that surrounded the city’s embrace of the Seneca Niagara Casino.
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