BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Business First is reporting that developer Douglas Jemal may soon be the new owner of Hotel Henry after they announced plans to cease all business operations effective Saturday, February 27.
Officials say that, given the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and challenges, Richardson Center Development Corporation and Hotel Henry agreed to terminate the initial 10-year lease term ahead of the agreement expiration.
"We have been committed to bringing new life to these historic buildings," said Diana Principe, Hotel Henry executive. "The impact that Hotel Henry has had on the region, what we have created together with the community in just three short years, is quite remarkable."
Additionally, State Senator Sean Ryan is asking Empire State Development to do its part in keeping Hotel Henry around, saying the state invested $76.5 million to develop the Richardson Olmsted Campus, and that ESD should work quickly to protect the state’s investment.
"Building and running a hotel business within a vast repurposed historic structure is both an advantage and a challenge, presenting difficulties and costs that other hotels simply don’t incur," said Dennis Murphy, Hotel Henry company member. "As Hotel Henry entered 2020, the business was on track to a second year of healthy profit. The global pandemic completely changed that. There is no doubt Hotel Henry was fiscally battered in 2020 with 75% of projected revenue lost to COVID’s impact, but we continued to evolve our business model to pivot toward every opportunity to persevere into 2021 and to honor the hotel’s commitments. Hotel Henry is a casualty of a pandemic that unfortunately has put us and many United States hotels out of business."
"This unexpected turn is a loss for our coworkers, neighbors, collaborating organizations, and small business vendors who championed and relied on Hotel Henry," added Principe. "It is our hope that the spirit and vitality of what Hotel Henry has become for our community, the foundation Hotel Henry has created for the campus, continues forward."
"Hotel Henry has been great to work with and transparent with us about the challenges they have been facing," said Mark Mortenson, Richardson Center Corporation president. "As their landlord, we can appreciate the unprecedented challenge the pandemic has had on their business and the travel and lodging sector in general. As the steward of the Richardson Olmsted Campus, our priority is to identify an ongoing use for this asset in conjunction with our ongoing reuse efforts for the remaining buildings on the campus."
Jemal has already purchased a number of other Buffalo properties, including the Seneca One Tower, Statler City, and the former Buffalo Police department headquarters.