Senecas to add $140M hotel to casino complex

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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- The Seneca Nation of Indians plans to build a 26-story, $140 million hotel overlooking Niagara Falls in the next phase of construction in its casino-resort complex.

The Seneca Niagara Casino opened a year ago in the city's former convention center, and officials are planning an expansion estimated at $100 million.

Meanwhile, a 2,400-space parking garage is under construction and the casino will open a steakhouse overlooking the gaming floor in January.

In April, the Senecas will break ground on the hotel, whose top floor will be a lounge with views of the waterfalls' brink and the Niagara Gorge. Construction is scheduled to take 16 months.

The hotel will have 600 rooms, a full-service spa and two restaurants, according to Michael Brown, president of the Seneca Gaming Corp, which operates the casino.

Because the hotel will be situated on tribal land, the Senecas plan to offer rooms without charging sales, bed or property taxes, which can add 30% to a room's price, according to Seneca officials.

The hotel will be the tallest building in the city, topping the United Office Building by six stories.

The Senecas said they aim to create "four-star" rooms, which casino high rollers are used to but cannot find in Niagara Falls.

The groundbreaking will bring the total investment of Seneca development under way or completed in Niagara Falls to about $280 million, making it the largest building spree in the Niagara Falls area since the Niagara Power Project of the 1950s.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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