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Canadian Niagara Hotels Reflags Former Crowne Plaza in
Niagra Falls as Sheraton at the Falls

By Mark Scheer, Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 01, 2011--NIAGARA FALLS -- The Crowne Plaza hotel on Third Street will soon begin operating under a new name.

Hotel general manager Mark Bibb confirmed Tuesday that the property, which was recently purchased by the Niagara Falls, Ontario-based Canadian Niagara Hotels, Inc., is scheduled to begin operating under the Sheraton flagship on March 17. Bibb said the hotel's official name will be the Sheraton at the Falls once the transition is finalized.

"It may be sooner than that, but right now that's the official date," he said. "That is the target date right now."

A crew spent the past two days replacing the old Crowne sign on the Niagara Street side of the building with a new Sheraton moniker. The new sign was covered over by a Crowne Plaza banner by management until the formal transfer to the Sheraton is official.

The move follows the sale of the building earlier this year to Canadian hotelier Michael DiCienzo, vice president of Canadian Niagara Hotels, Inc.

A subsidiary of DiCienzo's company, NFNY Hotel Management LLC, purchased the 391-room hotel from GKK Hotel Niagara Owner LLC, the company that bought it for nearly $21 million at a foreclosure auction less than a year ago.

DiCienzo's group also owns the Days Inn at 443 Main St. and six hotels in Niagara Falls, Ont. In confirming the purchase agreement for the Crowne Plaza property in January, DiCienzo said he looked forward to bringing some lasting stability to what he described as a key piece of downtown real estate. He also said he planned an "All-American" style chain restaurant for the property and would be looking to create retail shops in under-utilized space at the hotel. DiCienzo did not mention plans to shift the property to the Sheraton name at the time of the purchase.

On Tuesday, Bibb said the transfer to the Sheraton will not impact staffing levels or current hotel employees. Bibb said the change is also not expected to have an impact on operations at the Starbucks coffee shop located inside the building.


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Copyright (c) 2011, Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

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