Genesee Building/Hyatt Regency-Buffalo - Table of Contents

The Hyatt: A Major Investment in the Future of Downtown
By Franklyn Buell

Originally published in The Buffalo News Magazine, February 12, 1984

On November 13, 1981, Paul L. Snyder told a gathering of people clustered in front of the Genesee Building entrance: "About 25 months from now I hope we will be standing here in front of a new hotel." Today, just 28 months later, anybody standing in that spot - or, more specifically, on Main Street about 75 feet east of the entrance to the former office building - will, indeed, be in front of the resplendent Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

If the expectations for the hotel come close to Snyder's 1981 hope, the structure - a blend of the old and the new - will be a major factor in a more vibrant downtown. It will give Main Street an extended stretch of vitality.

The November 1981 occasion was the start of razing the Victor and Oppenheim Collins buildings to clear the way for the hotel. One month earlier the decision had been made to incorporate the Genesee Building into the hotel design.

Snyder had entered the Hyatt planning in January 1981 as the "lead local developer" after the project. had languished, tantalizingly out of reach, through 1980 despite the city's success in obtaining a $16.5 million federal grant.

Soon after taking office in January 1978, Mayor Griffin turned his attention to the Main-Genesee area as a key site for development. In February 1979 the first talk was heard of commercial construction there to encourage rejuvenation of the Theater District, directly to the north,where architecturally distinguished nineteenth-century buildings were unused and deteriorating....

Central to the effort for a second hotel was the need for additional rooms to enable the Buffalo Convention Center to book larger gathering and fulfill its potential in attracting events and visitors....

The Buffalo Hilton, built by Clement Chen and opened in June 1980, partially supplied the support required by the Convention Center....

A new building on the north side of the hotel, fronting on Main Street and extending to West Huron Street, will have four floors and entrances from the hotel. The design complements the glass atrium on the other side of the hotel. It will be mostly retail space, with a few offices, according to Snyder, and construction will begin "in a month of two." ...

A touch of beautification due this year is the creation of Fountain Plaza, an open area between the Norstar Building [Bank of Buffalo in 2009] and Snyder's planned building.

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