|By Matt Glynn, The Buffalo News, N.Y.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
July 13, 2004 - The Radisson Suites Hotel in downtown Buffalo is about to turn into a Comfort Suites.
The brand switch takes effect at the end of this month, said James Cosentino, whose partnership owns the hotel at Main and Chippewa streets.
Cosentino said the hotel will undergo room and lobby renovations, and will remain open while those improvements are being made. The renovations will probably amount to about $750,000, he said.
The property has been affiliated with Radisson since 1994, after opening in 1991 as a Journey's End All-Suites Hotel. Cosentino said the Comfort Suites identity will be a better fit for the hotel since it consists entirely of suites.
"We also think that brand is more in keeping with the Buffalo market," he said.
The Comfort Suites brand is distinct from Comfort Inn, although both of those brands are owned by the same company, Choice Hotels International.
Cosentino said the downtown hotel's occupancy rate is "good," but he declined to give the figure.
The Radisson brand is one of several owned by Carlson Hotels Worldwide. Joan Cronson, a Carlson spokeswoman, confirmed the brand change was occurring but she did not provide further details.
"We don't want to speak on behalf of our former franchisee," she said.
Richard Geiger, president and chief executive officer of the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he was pleased that the hotel would remain affiliated with a national brand.
This is the second time in less than a year that an area hotel has switched from the Radisson brand. In late 2003, the Radisson Hotel and Suites in Cheektowaga, across from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, became the Park Plaza Buffalo Airport. That was an internal change, since Carlson owns both the Radisson and Park Plaza brands.
The Radisson near the airport was once owned by Cosentino through one of his businesses. The change to Park Plaza occurred after LaSalle National Bank entered the lone bid for the property in a foreclosure auction in summer 2003. Benderson Development has since bought the hotel and announced plans to demolish it.
Cosentino owns one other area hotel that is affiliated with a Choice Hotels brand: a Quality Inn near the airport. Choice has eight brands altogether.
A Choice Hotels spokeswoman, Olivia Kranz, said she did not have additional details on the planned change for the downtown Buffalo location.
The only other Comfort Suites hotel in the region, also located near the airport, is owned by Rochester-based Hudson Hotels.
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