Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

December 26, 2013

Younger generation looking to restore Falls landmark to former glory

Historic Falls club getting attention from younger generation

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A Niagara Falls landmark that has sat largely dormant for years is getting some love from a pair of 20-somethings.

Nirel Patel and Matt Green have big plans for the Niagara Club, the building that housed a private social club that had a list of members — Whitney, Scheollkopf — that reads like a history book about the city. They hope to soon find a restaurateur or executive chef to partner with in opening a fine dining restaurant and eventually hope to convert the second and third floors into a boutique hotel with up to 10 rooms.

B.F. Patel, Nirel’s father, had plans for an upscale eatery in the building shortly after purchasing it in 2009.

He had an executive chef lined up and things were in motion. But as the opening date approached the chef backed out and the true weight of the economic collapse of 2008 became more apparent. The Patels shelved those plans and rented out the space until a few months ago.

Nirel Patel returned from California at the beginning of last year to help his father with the renovation of the Moore Business Forms building a few blocks east of the Niagara Club on Buffalo Avenue after spending eight years in Los Angeles.

He said the Cataract City is a different place than when he left.

“The winds of change have shifted toward Niagara Falls now,” Patel said.

When Patel — who went to film school and then worked in the industry — came back, he was between jobs and had planned to return to California within a year.

But after seeing positive momentum downtown for the hotel and tourism industries — the state is investing in Niagara Falls State Park and the state and city have committed millions of dollars to incentivize downtown development — Patel decided to stay.

“It’d be foolish not to actually partake in this,” he said.

Patel and Green, 26 and 22 years old respectively, are hoping to bring some attention to their project with a swanky, “roaring 20’s” New Year’s Eve party. The catered event will feature a top-shelf bar, hors d’ouvres, and a jazz band.

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257

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