Harry Stinson’s ‘big’ vision comes to fruition – Buffalo Rising


It was in 2018 that Canadian investor and promoter Harry Stinson has purchased the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo, near Canalside. Since that time, Stinson has considered a number of strategic redevelopment options (including building a condo tower), while also coordinating a plan of attack for the monstrous building.

Yesterday I had the chance to meet Stinson at Buffalo Grand Hotel, to discuss some of the renovations underway. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of work that has been done, including the unveiling of a small annex banquet hall that he detached from the main hotel dining room. He did it by installing a brick wall (to create a dedicated space), by laying parquet, by adding comfortable benches and benches, by painting, by relighting… the works. The new space, complete with a piano, is perfect for hosting around 100 people for spin-off wedding parties, Stinson told me.

This room on the first floor, next to the hotel dining room, was dated, drab and dark brown – in fact, brown was unfortunately the color of choice for many rooms at the Adam’s Mark Hotel.

At the moment, Stinson is busy updating all the outdated and inconvenient sites in the building. Take, for example, the old Erie Ballroom on the first floor. By removing a giant wall, the ballroom has grown from a capacity of 500 people to a capacity of 800 guests (now with natural light). It’s a welcome improvement, but it’s only a small part of the transformation that’s going on in the building.

A large wall that ran the entire length of the hall was removed, increasing the capacity for 300 guests. New carpet, and more brown paint. Do you notice the natural light, thanks to the absence of a wall?

Stinson is focused on the large hotel event spaces because there is a need for them in Buffalo, he told me.

“Buffalo is a city full of small and medium venues… A capacity of 200 to 300 people covers most of them,” Stinson said. “Then there is the Convention Center, but which dates. The Buffalo Grand Hotel will become a destination for larger events, once I finish making it functional. In total, we can accommodate 7,000 people at a time, which is important for this city. We can also host smaller events, depending on what people are looking for. The most important thing right now is to update the sites and rethink the way everything works and looks together. “

The pool is being filled to make way for a meeting and conference room, with direct access to an outdoor courtyard with bar. Another swimming pool will be built towards the back of the hotel.

While there are some cool upgrades going on downstairs, it’s upstairs that Stinson is particularly excited about. It all starts with the swimming pool. The indoor pool is being filled to create a meeting and conference room that will have direct access to a sunny outdoor courtyard and bar. Another swimming pool will be built towards the back of the hotel.

“The pool was in the wrong place,” Stinson said. “It was built when there was a tennis club here. The tennis club measured 42,000 square feet – then it became a venue, which is now dated. The first thing we did was tear down all the walls we could. In the future, it will be a huge hall for weddings, concerts and conventions. Like everything else, we’re reshaping, updating, and animating it. There will be a giant stainless steel bar, with eight bartending stations. We paint the brass chandeliers a dramatic red. We’re also exhibiting the massive columns that were added to support the arched roof above the tennis courts – we coat the columns with intumescent fire retardant paint. There will be a reception area in front, with the concert stage behind. In front of the concert stage, we install balconies with bottle kiosks. On either side of the stage there will be two video walls, with projectors mounted on the ceiling for stunning visuals. It will be like watching a concert in a drive-in theater. Once completed, there will be no such thing in WNY.

A… large… room = a reception area and 4,390 seats

Speaking to Sinson, it’s easy to tell he’s having fun. He’s been doing this stuff for most of his life after all, so it comes naturally to him. He is proud of his accomplishments, which he is happy to show now that they are either fully underway or reaching the completion stage.

“It’s going to be big and dramatic,” Stinson told me. “Since I’ve been in Buffalo, no one has taken me seriously, so I’m going to do it on my own. I want it to be original. This place will be full of “selfie moments”, with many cool features. I assessed the market, to see what is most needed in Buffalo, and this is what I found. This is what the building lends itself best to. I think people will really like it when it’s over. At this point there is still a lot of work to be done … we have 360 ​​rooms booked this weekend (out of 486 rooms), and we are starting to do guided tours on Tuesday with our clients, to show them what we’re doing. up to. We did this while remaining open to business. We should be ready for a final screening in November.

Stinson reinvents the old look of the establishment, with glowing red chandeliers.

From the soup to nuts – removal of the walls, exposure of previously encased columns, soundproofing, carpet, painting – the Buffalo Grand Hotel is is coming well. Stinson told me that despite his inability to find enough people willing to work, he is committed to completing the project on time. This means he’s in “hands-on” mode, working with contractors to make sure everything lives up to his aesthetic and quality standards. And he is patiently waiting for the day when he can unveil the results to the public.

Support structures were previously encased inside wall units. Now they will be on display, which will provide panoramic sight lines inside the site.

Not only will the hotel and conference center be ideal for weddings, but it will also be a top-notch concert hall for national artists. Located at the back of the stage, next to the kitchen, is a hallway where the performers will have direct access to the stage. Artists, VIP guests, stage and audiovisual technicians, promoters, etc., will benefit from a private space (former offices of ROAR Logistics), where they can relax, entertain and even relax on a private patio that overlooks the city. All of this is still under construction, but will be ready to go soon enough.

The stage will be recessed into the wall, with video screens on either side… and no more brown walls. Facing the stage, balconies will be hung from the ceilings, with bottle kiosks.
‘Back of the house’ – a former two-story office will be converted into a staging area for artists, crew and VIP guests, with a private patio overlooking the city for entertaining.

Stinson described the process of bringing it all together like a Rubik’s Cube. He figured out all the logistics to host smoothly orchestrated shows, while operating a hotel and conference center at the same time.

“I have 7 acres to play – it will be a small village when I’m done,” Stinson said. “We are updating the rooms little by little, installing new carpets in the hallways, gnawing at the decor, preparing the premises and tackling anything that was obsolete and collapsing. My philosophy at this point is, “Just do it and show them afterwards.”

Be connected: www.thebuffalogrand.com

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