No timeline on Buffalo Grand Hotel reopening

Stinson says he will reopen, awaiting a decision on his insurance claim
Buffalo Grand Hotel
Photo credit Brayton J. Wilson - WBEN

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Buffalo Grand Hotel has been closed for more than a year after a fire heavily damaged it.

Hotel owner Harry Stinson tells WBEN he's going to reopen, but doesn't have an exact date yet.

"It feels certainly more than a year, it feels like about 10 years," says Stinson. He says he's frustrated with a substantial insurance claim that is being negotiated, and meetings are scheduled with the insurance company in Manhattan next month.

Listen Live to WBEN:

Stinson tells us the settlement of the insurance claim is critical to the reopening. "This is called an examination under oath," explains Stinson. "The insurance company lawyers fire all their hard questions, and we provide the answers. The claim has not been denied. It's just the nature of a very large insurance claim where there is that suspicion of the cause. Hopefully we can satisfy them at that time. Our adjusters will be present, their adjusters are present."

As far as the hotel itself, Stinson says the structure is solid. "If you were to go into the hotel, the lobby is, as you would probably have expected, there's some ceiling tiles and things that have to be replaced," says Stinson. He notes the lobby area and all the parts that were the original Hilton on the main floor need a lot of cleanup but they're functional. He says the main damage is in the main ballroom on the third floor. "What's needed to be done are to do with systems, mechanical systems, heating, air conditioning, sprinklers, alarm systems, a lot of the systems sustained some very heavy partial damage in the fire," explains Stinson.

Stinson says he'll need to replace linens, pillows and flooring among other "soft goods." "Everything in there has to be fresh and up to date," notes Stinson.

Stinson says he doesn't have a timetable for reopening, but he will reopen it at a level he feels is appropriate. "The eyes are definitely on the hotel. Everybody's wondering when it will reopen. But they also need to be thinking how it will reopen? And will it reopen at the level that it once was when it was the Hilton 40 years ago." Stinson says the community needs that because there is no facility equivalent to this in western New York in terms of scale. "These types of grand hotels where the big events happened, the banquets and the political rallies, they don't build them anymore," adds Stinson. "This hotel is needed for the community to reopen at a level that it can attract the large events that are critical to the local tourism and event economy."

A fire caused more than $3 million damage in late 2021. Buffalo Fire investigators later ruled the cause arson.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Brayton J. Wilson - WBEN