A preferred developer has been chosen to transform the former Rainbow Centre mall in Niagara Falls into a major mixed-use complex.
Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Niagara Falls State Park Friday afternoon to announce that Uniland Development will lead a $150 million public-private partnership to build what's being called the Wonder Falls Resort. The complex will include a hotel, restaurants, and entertainment facilities, including an indoor water park.
Cuomo says the project, which is supported by "Buffalo Billion" funding, continues the region's recent momentum.
"There has been a comprehensive strategy and you feel it building on itself. [There has been] a lot of work done here in Niagara Falls, a lot of work done in Buffalo, a lot of work done all through Western New York, and it's cumulative. The pieces build on each other. The energy builds on each other," Cuomo said.
Cuomo says the project will support around 1,500 construction jobs and create 300 on-site jobs once it's complete.
Uniland Development Vice President Michael Montante says the new resort will compliment the history of the Falls, including a Daredevil Event Center.
"We also want to include an area that will promote all of Niagara Falls. So when a visitor comes to Wonder Falls, [whether] they're staying at the hotel or not, that's an area where they can go and really understand exactly what there is to do. We want this to to be the hub of branching out and taking of advantage of all that Niagara Falls has to offer," said Montante.
Montante says it could be a year before work on the project gets underway.
The Rainbow mall has been mostly vacant for more than a decade. Niagara County Community College's Culinary Institute, which opened in 2012, currently occupies part of the building.