Iskalo Development is pleased to introduce its latest landmark Main Street revitalization project – the redevelopment of the Lord Amherst property as a hospitality campus at the interstate gateway to the Main Street corridor in the Town of Amherst. This web page has been created to offer information about this exciting project which is proposed to be anchored with a new Hyatt Place Hotel located alongside a fully renovated and historic Lord Amherst Hotel and Sonoma Grille.
Revitalizing an Amherst Landmark
The Lord Amherst Motor Lodge, as it was originally known, has been a fixture on Main Street since it was opened in 1962. Timed with the completion of the extension of the Youngmann Memorial Highway (I-290) north of Main Street, the Lord Amherst is perched at the gateway to the Town of Amherst and is an important part of the authentic fabric of the Main Street corridor. Until our acquisition in 2011, the Lord Amherst Hotel had been in continuous operation for fifty years by the same family; a remarkable accomplishment. The attached restaurant has had different identities over the years, and has been the Sonoma Grille since 2003.
The Lord Amherst Motor Lodge was designed by architect Duane Lyman, considered the Dean of WNY Architecture. Mr. Lyman passed away in 1966 but left his mark on Western New York with such notable and historically significant projects as Williamsville South High School, the Saturn Club, Buffalo Country Club and M&T Bank’s downtown headquarters building, the latter under principal designer Minoru Yamasaki. Though regarded as an “upscale” hotel at the time of its opening, the Lord Amherst has not been updated and lacks the features and amenities expected by hotel guests today, compromising its ability to continue to attract year round business.
Shortly after our acquisition of the property in 2011, we undertook an initial phase of improvements in the hotel and the property in general. There was sufficient improvement in the hotel’s performance to suggest that a renovated and historically restored Lord Amherst Hotel could be successful if paired with a new hotel with an established, internationally recognized brand. We were pleased to recently announce our execution of a franchise agreement with Hyatt for Iskalo to develop a Hyatt Place Hotel on the property.
Hyatt Place to Anchor Hospitality Campus
The 137 room Hyatt Place Hotel will be located on a commercially zoned portion of the property facing the I-290. Upon completion, the Hyatt Place project, along with the renovation and restoration of the Lord Amherst Hotel and Sonoma Grille, will fulfill a strategic initiative of the Town of Amherst’s adopted Bicentennial Comprehensive Plan: “Located adjacent to the I-290, the area represents an opportunity to strengthen the gateway to Amherst and specifically Main Street, Amherst’s traditional commercial corridor.” In addition to establishing a hospitality destination that will support the shops, restaurants and other businesses located along the Main Street corridor, the project will add significantly to the Town’s tax base.
Iskalo is Passionate About Main Street
Throughout its history, Iskalo Development has worked hard to develop enduring projects of high quality and to forge trusting relationships in the communities in which we work. From our very first property acquisition in 1986, the Main Street corridor running from Snyder through the Village to East Amherst has been one of our primary focus areas. The redevelopment of the Lord Amherst property was inevitable due to its decline over the years. Given the property’s extraordinary location on Main Street at one of the area’s highest profile highway interchanges, the conventional approach would have been an intense redevelopment of the property, including demolition of the existing hotel and restaurant. Because of Iskalo Development’s Main Street experience and the passion we have for the communities along this important corridor, it is our distinct view that restoring the Lord Amherst Hotel and making it part of an attractive hospitality campus anchored by a Hyatt Place Hotel is the best and most respectful solution for the property and our community.
We appreciate your visiting our web site and hope you will take some time getting familiar with our plans for the Lord Amherst property and the Hyatt Place project. In addition to the images on the left, there are two documents you can download by clicking on the buttons below. The first download is an informational brochure prepared for the project, that also contains a section of "before and after" photographs of other Main Street projects Iskalo Development has completed. The second download is a document with responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the project.