Trans­form­ing Adam’s Mark into Bu≠alo Grand Ho­tel not easy

The Buffalo News - - BUSINESS -

and then there’s the new at­ti­tude and ser­vice fo­cus that he wants to in­still in his staff.

“There’s a lot of house­clean­ing to do, a lot of changes. We can’t do it overnight,” he said.

It’s no easy task, given the years of dis­in­vest­ment by prior own­ers, not to men­tion the sheer size of the prop­erty: 600,000 square feet on seven acres, with 484 ho­tel rooms, a 600-seat restau­rant and a park­ing ramp.

“I’m still dis­cov­er­ing more nooks and cran­nies of the build­ing ev­ery day,” Stin­son said. “This is an enor­mous build­ing, with hun­dreds of peo­ple on staff, and an aw­ful lot of things that have to be ad­dressed.”

But Stin­son said he doesn’t re­gret his $17 mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion or the in­vest­ment he’s putting into the ninestory ho­tel.

“I think it’s go­ing to be turn out to be quite a home run,” he said. “I wouldn’t have made the in­vest­ment in the city if I didn’t see the po­ten­tial.”

When guests ar­rive for a New Year’s Eve party in just over 50 days, Stin­son wants them to see a whole new look and feel at Buf­falo’s largest ho­tel. “By New Year’s, this will be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere and op­er­a­tion,” he said. “When peo­ple come to the party, they will be very im­pressed.”

Stin­son, a vet­eran de­vel­oper from Hamil­ton, Ont., bought the Adam’s Mark in July from Corn­ing-based Vi­sions Ho­tels, a lim­ited-ser­vice hos­pi­tal­ity com­pany that had owned it since 2009. He im­me­di­ately an­nounced a $30 mil­lion plan to trans-


form it into the in­de­pen­dent Buf­falo Grand Ho­tel and re­store its glory days as the city’s lead­ing con­fer­ence ho­tel, with a fo­cus on ma­jor events and hos­pi­tal­ity.

Opened in 1978 as the Buf­falo Hil­ton, the Adam’s Mark has 72,000 square feet of meet­ing space, in­clud­ing what used to be a ten­nis club. It also in­cludes 500 park­ing spa­ces.

That size is a key part of his strat­egy. “We’re very event-driven, And that is our ob­jec­tive, to re­build the big events,” he said.

Stin­son also stressed the im­por­tance of the city in­vest­ing in a new and en­larged con­ven­tion cen­ter, re­gard­less of which lo­ca­tion is cho­sen.

“The city is on a bit of a roll now, and it should run with it,” he said. “If we’re go­ing to go af­ter the events, we have to have a fa­cil­ity that will im­press con­ven­tion or­ga­niz­ers. If the city doesn’t even have the fa­cil­i­ties, you’re not in the run­ning.”

Mean­while, he’s up­grad­ing his own ho­tel. That in­cludes en­hanc­ing the food ser­vice, din­ing room, guest rooms, con­fer­ence cen­ter, fit­ness fa­cil­ity, pool and spa.

“We’re chug­ging away,” he said. “Slowly the mind­set is chang­ing within the build­ing and among the staff.”

A new dig­i­tal mes­sage board is com­ing within a month to re­place the static sign that now ad­ver­tises only the Har­bor Bistro, al­low­ing Stin­son to pro­mote the day’s events and pro­gram­ming.

And Stin­son said he is plan­ning to an­nounce a small ex­pan­sion that “will get in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion.” He would not elab­o­rate, but said “the fea­ture that it will add will be quite cool and very ap­pro­pri­ate for the City of Buf­falo.”

He also wants to in­crease the ho­tel’s meet­ing space by at least 100,000 square feet in the next two years, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the land he gained with the pur­chase. “We’re in that busi­ness al­ready,” he said. “This is why the ho­tel was bought.”

It’s a slow process, how­ever, and the build­ing’s scale has posed a few chal­lenges, such as find­ing enough car­pet­ing in his cho­sen de­sign. “I’m hav­ing mills say they don’t even have enough car­pet in stock of that color,” Stin­son said.

But oc­cu­pancy has re­mained steady, par­tic­u­larly on Fri­day and Sat­ur­day nights.

“This is some­thing that peo­ple are go­ing to judge on its ap­pear­ances and judge on its ser­vices,” he said. “The at­ti­tude has dra­mat­i­cally changed. I won’t say things are run­ning per­fectly yet, but the at­ti­tude chang­ing is No. 1.”

Mark Mul­ville/News file photo

Crews work to re­move the logo from the Adam’s Mark Ho­tel in Buf­falo last Septem­ber. Harry Stin­son, the Cana­dian de­vel­oper, said it’s no easy task ren­o­vat­ing the 40-year-old con­crete ed­i­fice.

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