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Termini converts hotel rooms at Foundry, Lafayette into apartments

The Foundry Suites hotel in North Buffalo is no more.

Developer Rocco Termini said he has converted all 14 hotel rooms at his Foundry project on Elmwood Avenue into apartments, anticipating that the devastated hospitality industry is in for a long haul before it recovers.

“We don’t think hotels are coming back for a long time,” he said.

He added that he did the same with 23 hotel rooms on the third floor at his Hotel @ the Lafayette on Washington Street in downtown Buffalo. Lafayette still has hotel rooms, he said, “but I’m not sure for how much longer.”

“If things don’t pick up, those will be converted to apartments as well,” Termini said. “This thing is not changing anytime soon. Hotels are in for a rough ride, and I’m not sure I want to be on that ride.”

Termini said he made the changes just in the last few months, during the coronavirus pandemic that caused a cratering of both business and leisure travel and decimated the hotel industry.

In both cases, the hotel rooms had been designed as apartments from the start because Termini wanted to be prepared to make the switch quickly in case a downturn occurred. So Termini didn’t have to invest money into renovations or other changes, except to remove the furniture – which is now up for sale through The Stock Exchange Estate Sales.

And almost all of the apartments at both buildings are rented, indicating the demand for residential units remains strong.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of hotel rooms being converted to something else,” Termini said.

The Foundry already had other apartments in the building at 1738 Elmwood, which formerly housed the FWS Furniture store before that business closed and Termini bought it for conversion to a mixed-use project. The banquet facility still remains open, Termini added.

Published by The Buffalo News

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