ULI Heads North to Niagara Falls for an Overview of The Giacomo

Join the Urban Land Institute of Western New York (ULI WNY) on February 27 starting at 6 PM for an inside look at Ellicott Development Corporation’s The Giacomo in downtown Niagara Falls. Ellicott Development completed the $12 million project in 2006, converting what was the formerly vacant United Office Building into the Giacomo – a luxury 38 room boutique hotel, with 24 high-end apartments on the upper floors that have complete access to the hotel’s amenities.



Designed by the prominent firm of Esenwein and Johnson and completed in 1929, the building is a distinctive example of the Mayan Revival style, a modern architectural movement which was a subset of the art deco styles of the 1920s and 30s, drawing its inspiration from the iconography of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures. 

At 20 stories in height, the building offers commanding panoramic views of the Upper Niagara Rapids, Niagara Falls and the Niagara River Gorge, as well as the city and surrounding area. In 2006, the building was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The historical and architectural significance of this building represents a link to the city’s past that is now part of its future.

The event will feature opening remarks by Paul Dyster, Mayor, City of Niagara Falls, and presentations by:

- Carl Paladino, Chairman, Ellicott Development Company. Carl will discuss the transformation of the Giacomo from an empty office building to first-class mixed-use project anchoring downtown revitalization efforts.

- Tom DeSantis, Senior Planner, City of Niagara Falls. Tom will discuss recent and planned development initiatives for Niagara Falls and the critical role partnership between state and local elected officials, civic groups, community leaders, and the private sector, which make projects like The Giacomo possible.

Presentations will be followed by self-guided tours of the boutique hotel rooms, luxury apartments, as well as the 14th floor overlook and 19th floor Skylounge – both with excellent views of the falls and gorge. Food and refreshments will be provided by NCCC Culinary Institute. Registration fees range from $15 to $35/person.

Register while space is still available HERE.

Rapid Grand Dlux Jac Fire-2.jpg

Rapid Grand Dlux Jac Fire-1.jpg


About the author  ⁄ buffalorising



Makes me wish Elena was still here at BRO. It would be love at first sight!


There have been periods of Gothic, Greek, and Georgian Revivals, so I don't doubt at all that an "Art Deco" Revival period will follow in some future period of building activity. We just might not be alive when it happens.

All architecture borrows from some other period,(maybe except for the International Style when it was first occurring) - some more successfully than others.

Your observation of diversity in styles is very apropos, IMO. It's just that owners and architects have a herd mentality, and once something has been proven to be economically popular, there is great reluctance to change or strike out in a new/different direction. Hence the proliferation of all the faux "Spanish colonial stucco style" homes in suburbia, not matter where in the country you find yourself in.


Great job in saving the building - the exterior is wonderfully restored.

I've enjoyed closely following the fate of this building from a child many years ago to the present.

Great disappointment for the interior by the Interior Desecrator. Realize they had to redo it for the new purpose, but with all the major Mayan influences, the interior public spaces are a major fail, in my opinion.

The good news on the awful interior design, if the owners wish to keep the building in top condition thru-out it's life, it will have to eventually be renovated many times into the future, as all hotels/offices/apartments are, and hopefully, a more talented interior designer can step forward at that time.

There was a brass/bronze revolving door in the original design that was not retained that didn't seem too far gone from the original photos, and from what I have researched, is a very energy efficient type of entrance for energy waste in a building without a separate vestibule separating the exterior from the interior.

Has anybody suggested, approached or convinced the owners to make a complete photographic record of each separate detail on all sides of the entire height of the exterior of the building? It would make for a great publication and record.

In fact, this should be done for all such similar building in Buffalo/Niagara Falls. There are lots of good pics of the City Hall and the Guaranty, etc., but too many of them are hit and miss from the internet, too many buildings are missing, and not deliberately done for each building and assembled in one place - especially interior shots of the major public spaces.

Lastly, there should now be an effort to replace the tacky motel behind the building with something more sympathetic to this building and the surrounding area. Especially constructing a new building adjacent to the "blank" wall on the side of the United Office Building/Giacomo that was never meant to be exposed - this would complete the streetscape.


It does look great and there would be more if Niagara Falls wasn't demolished for urban renewal. My point. One day Niagara Falls will turn the corner. Well it copy Ontario and go modern or will it do something more diverse and interesting.

This building says a lot about what path Niagara Falls could follow


How the hell does any of that ramble remotely relate to this article? Focus, paulsobo, focus.

This place looks great.


Im sorry to those who disagree but a city that is majority if not completely contemporary / modern city is a BORE. It lacks character and substance.

Id much prefer a city that facilitated through architectural design partnership a mix of architectural styles for new construction. There is no reason why a canal era, international style, Beaux Arts, Art Deco, Art Nuveau cannot be built alonside a modern Gehry or a modern Calatrava (my favorite) or a contemporary IM Pei...sadly Buffalo is to poor to attract one of these world class architects but the theme is the same.

Why must we settle for suburban cheap when we have 100 years or world class excellence to choose from that is already designed.

Infact, there has to be unbuilt designs from the current worlds great architects that could be chosen at a fraction of the cost or a custom design.

nearly 100 years of demolition...we need to think beyond infill with the new but of complementing our existing stock of buildings too.


I recently stayed here with friends. Five star experience. Excellent renovation, well run, great staff. Up there with the best hotel stays I've ever had.


Wow, $15 - $35 registration fee for a ribbon cutting tour? That's Paladino for you!


The decorating hurts my eyes

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