|By Thomas J. Dolan, The Buffalo News,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 12, 2007 - A Mississauga, Ont., hotelier proposing an eight-story "boutique hotel" near Buffalo Niagara International Airport may be aiming too high, Cheektowaga officials say.
The "aloft" hotel would be the tallest in the area, so the developer, Manga LLC, must come up with a way to hide the hotel's profile from residents on Surfside Parkway and nearby streets, Cheektowaga officials say.
One official says the preliminary drawings show the building "looming over" homes in the area, across Genesee Street from the airport.
Others say the company appears to be working hard to solve its problems with neighbors.
"The residents have to be satisfied. If they are satisfied, I really think its a go," one town official said.
The "aloft" concept, unveiled in 2005, is described as "a radical departure" from traditional hotels."
"It's nice, new and trendy. It will be something brand new to your area," Manga President Sukhdev Toor told a reporter for The Buffalo News in a September interview.
The 147-room hotel would feature loft-style rooms, edgy furniture, wireless Internet service and other trendy amenities. It is designed to appeal to the "20 to 40 crowd that wants a very modern place to stay," Toor said.
Planning Board Chairman Anthony Sisti said company officials will discuss their plans at 7:30 p.m. Thursday during a meeting of the board and a public hearing to be held next month.
Meanwhile, company and town officials have been discussing several possible solutions, including planting a row of spruce trees between the back of the hotel property and the neighborhood. Each of the possible sites has a drawback, however.
The hotel development is planned for a site on Burgess Boulevard, off Genesee Street in what's becoming Cheektowaga's "hotel row." Running between the Burgess site and the Surfside Parkway neighborhood are an abandoned railway and two drainage ditches, which must remain open to allow town highway vehicles to perform maintenance.
Town officials say it is doubtful the residents will allow the trees to be planted on their property, and the current owner of the abandoned railway right of way will not break up his property for a sale.
Manga officials say the company's plans would not be viable if one or more stories are removed.
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