Walking in the era of Gatsby

Niagara University has hand in Niagara Hotel history


Nico Santangelo

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – A walk in downtown Niagara Falls is becoming increasingly purple. A spur of recent projects and initiatives from Niagara University are beginning to spread throughout the distressed city. Along Third Street, artsy shadow selfies adorn vacant storefronts. These silhouettes were the brainchild of the Castellani Art Museum, and created as a way to draw interest to new tennants.

Down the road, the Niagara Global Tourism Institute is planning on moving out of the Power City building. Part of Niagara University, the institute is planning to open an expanded o ce and learning center on Niagara Street as part of an area revitalization plan. ReNU Niagara, part of the Levesque Institute, has been working on targeted community projects in the Cataract city for well over a decade. Community gardens all over the city have bene ted from partnerships with the organization.

The school’s most recent endeavors include working alongside developers in the downtown hotel region: an area that has seen dramatic growth in the last five years.

Dr. Kurt Stahura, Dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, believes that this explosion of hotels is good for both the city and the university.

“This is a win for our students,” said Stahura. “They can receive hands on learning in real hotels. These hotels also bene t from the quality of our students.” Niagara’s Hospitality and Tourism Management students have a strong academic reputation. The world renowned program was one of the earliest to be accredited by Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, according the college’s website. Stahura is also pleased with the recent announcement of a $42 million restoration of the Art Deco era Hotel Niagara.


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The Hotel Niagara, constructed in 1925, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel is known for famous guests such as Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy. After sitting vacant for nearly a decade, the crumbling hotel was purchased by the state of New York last year. The state announced in July that Brine Wells Development was to take on the $42 million task of restoring the hotel to its 1920s era opulence.

“It’s like walking in the era of Gatsby,” said Stahura. “People will come to the hotel just to look at its beauty.”

Stahura believes that Niagara University will play a role in bringing the Hotel Niagara back to life, and set the city of Niagara Falls back on the right track.

“The Hotel Niagara is a highly visible symbol of the city,” said Stahura. “Bringing the hotel back to its grandeur will show the progress Niagara Falls is making.”

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