Construction Watch: Hotel Lafayette

The Lafayette Hotel’s grand opening will be celebrated on May 29 with a black tie affair, but the building is already hosting events and recently welcomed residents.  The first apartment tenants took occupancy on May 1 (95 of 115 units have already been leased) as workers finish up work on the building’s lower floors that will house a mix of restaurant and retail tenants, and on the second floor, hotel guests.  The 34-room boutique hotel, to be run by Pearl Street Grill managing partner Earl Ketry, is scheduled to open at the end of the month (sources say this won’t be Ketry’s only hotel downtown).

Developer Rocco Termini, contractors, and craftsmen had their work cut out for them.  While few alterations had been made to the landmark’s exterior since the building’s construction and subsequent expansions, the same cannot be said of the interior.  Unsympathetic renovations and painting, neglect, and water damage had taken their toll on the ornate interior.


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The 367-room Lafayette Hotel, in its prime, was considered one of the 15 finest hotels in the country. It was designed principally by Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first professional woman architect in the country, the first female member of the American Institute of Architects, and the first woman to be made a Fellow of the A.I.A.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, each space is more stunning than the next- all have different colors and finishes yet they all tie together beautifully.  Commercial tenants have begun building out their individual spaces.  Renovation plans for the $42 million project were prepared by architecture, engineering and interior design firm Carmina Wood Morris.  R&P Oak Hill is the general contractor.

From Newell’s recent project update post:

The Hotel Lafayette will ultimately become a paradise for couples looking to tie the knot. From a flower shop and a cakery to formalwear and a wedding registry. Catering, banquet halls, live music stages, multiple bars and restaurants, a grand lobby, hotel rooms furnished by ‘room’ with two-way fireplaces and elevated beds… there are even two banquet rooms on the top floor. One will have an atrium and the other industrial skylights, a kitchen, a bar and easy access to hotel rooms on the same floor (see slide show). The Hotel Lafayette will be a one stop shop for wedding parties that are looking for the utmost in luxury and convenience.

Yesterday, the Buffalo News gave the project some much-deserved love.  Below are some ‘before’ and late-April pictures.  

First floor main hallway and lobby:

DSC_0817.JPGDLSC_0877.JPGFirst floor, after:

Picture 1067.jpgPicture 1070.jpgPicture 1079.jpgPicture 1089.jpgPicture 1091.jpgMarquis de Lafayette grand ballroom:

DLSC_0833.JPGDLSC_0834.JPGPicture 060.jpgPicture 064.jpgPicture 1084.jpgMarquis de Lafayette ballroom (Crystal Dining Room):

DLSC_0827.JPGPicture 057.jpgPicture 058.jpgMike A’s Steakhouse – Lobby bar and lounge:

Picture 051.jpgMike A’s Steakhouse:

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Picture 1073.jpgPicture 1071.jpgWoyshner’s Flower Shop space (corner of Washington and Clinton streets):

Picture 048.jpgLafayette Tap Room (renamed Pan American Brewery):

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Picture 045.jpgPicture 080.jpgPan Am Dining Room (along Washington Street):

Picture 042.jpgRestored Art Work:

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About the author  ⁄ Jackie Treehorn

39 comments
muffon28
muffon28

Great job Buffalo. We could use Rocco for our old Statler if he's avail.

Patrick
Patrick

Is the Tap Room still going to be all Blues music?

Patrick
Patrick

Is the Tap Room still going to be all Blues music?

LouisTully
LouisTully

You are such a tool, I don't know if it's sad or funny. You have such a small, inaccurate knowledge of the topics you speak of it's embarrassing. Everything in your comment screams Village of Williamsville. Good. Stay there. What "trendy" bars do you hang out at? Blu Bar? Kewl.

PS:

Seabar is three blocks away.

The train has a high ridership, so apparently lots of people.

I didn't know Kindle puts on programs. But you must be above using a public library.

2nd Cup Cafe is a block north of Lafayette.

The Washington Market is three blocks away, next to Seabar.

I don't wear crocs.

You should get your nose out of the air, it isn't very flattering. I have no problem with opposing viewpoints, it's just that yours are always arrogant and lacking insight. Brush that dirt off your shoulder and join the team.

Tim
Tim

Totally tubular.

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

Oh please....bars are for weekends and then there are no trendy ones in the area anyway. Who in the hell rides the NFTA in their right mind....libraries, replaced with kindle fire. Where is the the coffee shop, super market, boutique stores and quaint cafes along with mobs of people. How those crocs doing BTW?

elias
elias

i say dave and busters, willis mcgahee thought so...

Dan
Dan

Gorgeous.

LouisTully
LouisTully

Why would they get to'o' bored? Because there are bars and restaurants nearby, including in their building? Or because it's next door to the central library which puts together many programs? Or because the ballpark is a few blocks away? Or the arena a short walk further? Or because Shea's is three blocks away; and the resurgent Studio Arena just past it? Not to mention countless other theaters. I'm not sure what could possibly be boring about living in their area. Oh, because they don't have a Dave & Buster's!

If the Lafayette's residents are bored it would probably be because they spend too much time on Buffalo Rising complaining about how awful their city is.

And why does this exemplify the need for cars? Because a train stop is 500 meters away? Or because there is so much within walking distance?

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

Very beautiful. Hopefully the new residents won't get to bored in that area. Perfect example of why cars are still needed in this city.

buffaloroamer
buffaloroamer

Great project!!! keep em coming. If and when the Tishman building is done that will be a huge addition to this area. Agree that some owner occupied units need to be made available in the 200k range.

downtown resident
downtown resident

Wow!!! I welcome my new neighbors and ask you please to use Main Street. Walk it even though nothing is there yet. Just the presence of working class people will change the whole vibe of the area and keep the unwanted element away. (I know that will get me many thumbs down)

DOC
DOC

Who cares if you're happy or not? Quit making this thrilling development be about you and start making it be about celebrating a major transformation; a stunning addition to the urban fabric of our beautiful city.

jooliecoolie
jooliecoolie

i can't wait next time i'm home to check it out!! looks amazing! :D

Slu
Slu

Why such Debbie Downer? You can separate the two. And in my opinion, what is happening at the Donovan is much better than a rotting, empty building that can be seen from the highway and is parked right in front of one of the city's biggest draws for out of towners. I am happy about the renovations at the Donovan and even happier about the Marriott that is going in there.

On topic, this renovation looks absolutely stunning. I can wait to go in there an check it out.

grad94
grad94

doing a little happy dance just for you, rocco!

Penn Station
Penn Station

This is absolutely fabulous! It was King Tuts tomb with all the goods. Its to the preservationists, who started preserving houses in the late 1970's, what Woodstock was to the early 1900's Boehemian movement. It's all coming together. What great inspiration for preserving other great buildings. Thanks to all involved!

Wolffman
Wolffman

When's the bar opening? Looks fantastic.

MichaelB
MichaelB

Even though I worked on this project as an Architect; when I am physically walking in the space it brings a feeling of exhilaration, and sometimes a tear to the eye...good feelings of having the honor of being part of the team that helped bring this place back to life!

paulsobo
paulsobo

Put back the original 1900 Lobby but other than that...Im delighted.

Now we need to bring the Statler up to the same level of restoration.

and we need to get the Liberty and the Hyatt to add residential!

Basically much of the pre-WWII office space should be residential....and we need to encourage all those empty downtown lots to take up new CLASS A Office space.

CindyLee
CindyLee

Makes me want to get married :)

galaxyjay
galaxyjay

Just eye popping. This is something we all can and should be proud of.

Buffalo All Star
Buffalo All Star

Agreed...another primary benefit would be 2 buildings/owners facilities that have a vested interest in the square.

Hotels HAVE to care about what goes on outside their buildings..landscaping..loitering..litter etc. (unlike a large portion of dt buffalo owners whos responsibility seems to end at the doorstep)Both the Tishman and the Lafayette won't succeed if Lafayette square stays in the current "conditon" its in...its things aren't fixed; people simply won't stay. I am very much looking forward to increased activity levels and dozens more eyes on the street.

I've heard the Tishman is 2 years out. Has Mr. Ketry started his own management company? Website is finally up but not a word about hiring or staff anywhere 3 weeks before its due to open? Whats this mysterious 2nd hotel downtown? A leak to developments at the Statler? Hertz Garage? I think soo..

sabres77
sabres77

Someone give Rocco a blank check.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

How fabulous. Great work Rocco and team.

I agree with others that downtown development news is very uneven these days. On one hand, the glorious renovation of this stately building.

On another, we watch in apathy as a suburban, drab, cheaply-constructed new build goes up on, what could be, a world-class waterfront. How terribly disappointing.

flyguy
flyguy

Gorgeous. I was shocked when I saw the pictures comparing the old Lafayette tap Room with the new looking at that ceiling! That amazing ceiling was covered up at some point? I cant believe it. Ill make a special trip just to see that space as its true self. I liked Lafayette Tap Room before but now its all spiffed up and even better! Awesome!

I pray that the Buffalo market can support all the great things being uncovered and brought back to life. I maintain the population numbers and incomes absolutely need to start going up or all this good will reach a tipping point.

elias
elias

i have the feeling the pictures really do not do it justice

derby98
derby98

Amazing! Well done.

It would be icing on the cake if LED architectural lighting were added to the exterior to showcase the buildings beauty at night.

The Boss
The Boss

If Hamisters Hilton stays on track, we should expect to see some sort of retail/services pop up around the square. How nice would that be?

ForestBird
ForestBird

The real 'Good Fortune' here is the amount of original/vintage detail which was never destroyed, but only covered by drywall & suspended tiles. Rocco is no fool, so must have seen that for himself.

The Lafayette will be a destination for many of us, for many years to come.

MidtownMike
MidtownMike

So many of these pictures are keepers, not only the before and after pairs but the many showing the final results.

LouisTully
LouisTully

The closest thing to a silver bullet in this town is downtown residential. 95/115 ain't bad. Now how 'bout some residential ownership opportunities in this neighborhood. And not in the 300-400k range, a la Washington St.

Great use of public bill$. Keep it comin', Rocco.

Lego1981
Lego1981

I still can't believe this is the same hotel. AMAZING!!!!! Rocco, you are the MAN!!!!

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