|By Matt Glynn, The Buffalo News,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 31, 2012--A resort that would consist of the tallest buildings in Niagara Falls, Ont., is in the works.
Developers Ralph Terrio and Hunter Milborne are moving forward on plans for two gleaming towers, one with 61 stories, the other with 60 stories, on River Road near the Rainbow Bridge. The project cleared an important hurdle with the City Council in Niagara Falls, Ont., last week.
The two towers would be joined by a pedestrian bridge over Hiram Street and a tunnel underneath. At 751 feet in height, the taller of the two would soar past Buffalo's tallest building, One HSBC Center, which is about 528 feet tall, as well as the Skylon Tower, which is about the same height as the HSBC skyscraper.
The new resort would also rank among the tallest hotels in North America. The second tower in the project would be 732 feet tall.
"I think the parties involved in this one had a specific architectural vision in mind," said Andrew Bryce, a planner with the City of Niagara Falls, Ont., Planning, Building and Development Department.
The developers previously acquired two properties where the resort would be built, currently the site of Michael's Inn and Bird Kingdom. Canadian media reports have estimated the project's value in the $340 million to $500 million range.
The project would add to a hotel building boom that has transformed the Niagara Falls, Ont., skyline. A 53-story tower that is part of the Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview is currently the city's tallest building.
Plans for the new project call for 966 hotel rooms. City officials said the properties would also include retail stores, restaurants, entertainment, a chapel and observation deck. It would also contain five residential units.
The developers could not be reached to comment Monday. A Canadian publication quoted one of the developers last week as saying the resort would appeal partly to wealthy visitors from overseas.
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