Northtowns’ first full-service, upscale hospitality offering draws inspiration from historic Amherst couple as well as prominent WNY architect.
Iskalo Development Corp. today showcased construction progress on Reikart House, a new boutique hotel inspired by Frank and Dolly Reikart, a vaudevillian couple known as the Town of Amherst’s “first family of hospitality.” The redevelopment project is underway at the former Lord Amherst Motor Lodge, which was originally designed by Duane Lyman, referred to as the “Dean of Western New York Architecture.”
Once completed, Reikart House will be an upscale, 93-bedroom boutique hotel located at 5000 Main Street in Amherst, New York. The hotel is located 10 miles from downtown Buffalo, 20 miles from the U.S.–Canada border, and in close proximity to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Walden Galleria, Boulevard Mall, the Northtown Center at Amherst, Daemen College and the State University of New York at Buffalo.
“Our team has always recognized the extraordinary hospitality potential at the site of the former Lord Amherst, with its strategic location acting as a gateway to the Town of Amherst, Village of Williamsville, hamlet of Snyder, and City of Buffalo—a corridor that every day accommodates vehicular traffic counts of roughly 45,000 motorists,” said Paul B. Iskalo, Founder, President and CEO of Iskalo Development Corp. “The area serves as a true hub for the surrounding communities, including five of the top ten most affluent zip codes in Erie County, and three of the top four. With the ongoing evolution of Main Street into a premier destination for high-end shopping, dining and spa services, we believe Reikart House will be an extremely welcome addition to the market and will quickly make its mark on the regional hospitality scene.”
The branding of Reikart House is inspired in part by the lives and times of Frank and Dolly Reikart, who in the early 1900s operated a small food tent and adjacent barbershop for visitors entering the Town of Amherst from Transit Road. Frank and Dolly served red hots and ice cream cones, took photographs of visitors in their studio, and would often entertain guests by playing guitar, banjo, violin or one of the instruments the couple invented, such as the Jazzboline. As former vaudeville musicians, Frank and Dolly often took their hospitality on the road, performing at numerous events and gatherings throughout the Town of Amherst. Over the years, the Reikart name became locally synonymous with “welcome!”
Reikart House’s architectural and aesthetic style will reflect Lyman’s original colonial revival references in the Lord Amherst. The interior of the hotel will feature a design that mixes period, traditional, and modern elements, with 93 upscale rooms including 12 suites, a boardroom, fitness room, and spa treatment rooms. The lobby has been completely reconstructed as a two-story space that will also include a dining area. The anticipated hotel grand opening date is spring 2017. Theming, menu and design for the companion restaurant building, the former Sonoma Grille, is currently being developed.
“We are undertaking a comprehensive renovation of Mr. Lyman’s hotel to restore the historical roots of the building and offer guests elegance and comfort without pretention,” stated David Chiazza, Executive Vice President for Iskalo Development. “Our goal in designing Reikart House is to provide a place that feels like home or ‘home as you would like it to be.’”
As was in Lyman’s original design, the boutique guest rooms include sizable widths that better resemble bedrooms than traditional hotel rooms. Each guest room will be outfitted with furnishings that are upscale but comfortable, authenticated by localized and historical branding. Iskalo is partnering with the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Museum to theme each of the 12 suites around local individuals and landmarks that tell the story of the Town of Amherst’s history.
In addition to informing hotel feel and amenities, the Reikart name is also influencing the service rituals that will be provided by hotel staff, thereby creating a truly unique hospitality experience. To match the goal of creating a boutique, upscale, comfortable guest experience, Colorado-based Greenwood Hospitality has been selected by Iskalo to operate the hotel.
“Reikart House will be the Town of Amherst’s first and only full-service, upscale boutique hotel,” continued Iskalo. “With interior design, branding and furnishings that embody Frank and Dolly Reikart, their pet Capuchin monkey Jacko, and historic vaudeville features, our guests will be delighted by the expected as well as the unexpected. ”
The original Lyman-designed Lord Amherst Lodge and restaurant opened in 1962. Lyman’s design portfolio includes several other historic and recognizable buildings throughout Western New York, including the Christ the King Chapel at Canisius College, Country Club of Buffalo Clubhouse, M&T Bank Center, Saturn Club and Williamsville South High School.
Iskalo’s 2011 acquisition of the former Lord Amherst included additional land where the company has since constructed Hyatt Place, a 137-room hotel that opened in August of 2015. Reikart House and its companion restaurant will complement the Hyatt Place, creating a first-class hospitality campus offering 230 guest rooms plus social and event space prominently situated alongside the Main Street/I-290 Expressway interchange. Reikart House is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. To learn more, visit: ReikartHouse.com.
About Iskalo Development Corp.
Iskalo Development Corp. is a full-service commercial real estate development company active in Western New York, and nationally on a client-driven basis. Iskalo’s corporate mission is to identify commercial real estate opportunities in which long-term intrinsic value can be created and which will contribute to the betterment of the region. In the process, Iskalo seeks to establish enduring and trusting partnerships with its customers and the communities that we serve and to engage in all business with the utmost honesty, fairness and integrity. Founded in 1988 by Paul Bohdan Iskalo, Iskalo Development Corp. is an experienced real estate developer of both “ground up” and “adaptive re-use” commercial projects including corporate and medical office, light industrial, retail, hospitality, and mixed-use. Learn more by visiting: iskalo.com.