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Old May 28th, 2006, 09:24 AM   #41
xzmattzx
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a little bit of niagara falls' gambling history is in this article.

Quote:
Zidenberg gambled on gaming career: Played key role in bringing casino to city


NIAGARA FALLS - Aubrey Zidenberg is a long way from his days as a counsellor at a medium-security detention centre in Brampton.

"I knew early on that I wasn't enthralled with what I was doing," said Zidenberg, who is president and CEO of Casino Amusements Canada.

So, he did what many young men in the 1970s did - travelled south of the border to Las Vegas, where he got bit by the gambling bug.

Unlike those who became addicted to the clinking poker chips, ringing slot machines and whirring roulette wheels, Zidenberg saw opportunity.

"I've never been a gambler," he said. "To me, gambling is a business."

After travelling the world with some of the casino industry's giants, Zidenberg set his sights on bringing gambling to Ontario.

"At that point, I saw (the expansion of commercial) gaming in Ontario," he said. "I knew I had two options, wait, or see it evolve before our eyes."

He contacted pal Steve Wynn, who recently made Time Magazine's list of 100 People Who Shape Our World for his efforts to reinvent Las Vegas.

Wynn told Zidenberg to remember one thing: To make resorts comfortable for patrons in the scorching heat of a desert summer, Wynn had to winterize them with air conditioning.

"Up there," said Zidenberg, recalling Wynn's words, "you've got to enclose and 'summerize.'"

Zidenberg's next challenge was to break the ice with the Ontario government, long before there was an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to determine how and where gaming could exist within the law.

His first venture was a charity casino at the Canadian National Exhibition, which ran in the first part of the 1990s. He also ran roving charity casinos, including ones in Niagara Falls, which made money for local charities.

"The idea," he said, "was to create a buzz with the government to see the value in this," particularly by luring Americans to Niagara Falls in the off-season. He had a hand in the creation of Casino Windsor and Casino Rama, and helped bring Casino Niagara to the city in 1996.

Back then, Zidenberg said, Toronto was being touted as a location, if the province supported a third commercial casino. Zidenberg again turned to Wynn, urging him to support Niagara Falls as a more viable location, so all of the facilities could thrive.

"I told him, Niagara Falls is going to be the site of the next casino in Ontario," he said.

Zidenberg worked alongside former mayor Wayne Thomson, lobbying to bring the third Ontario casino to Niagara Falls. He was there through government changes at the municipal and provincial levels, a referendum on the topic of bringing a casino to the city and the opening of Casino Niagara. He credits Thomson's determination as a big reason why gaming came to town.

"Wayne Thomson (did) everything he could to bring commercial gaming here to Niagara Falls," he said.

Zidenberg's company, which has an ongoing contract with the Fallsview group to develop marketing strategies for the casinos, also had a hand in the development of slots-at-track facilities, such as the Fort Erie Race Track Slots.

Today, he spends three or four days a week at Fallsview, overseeing events aimed at luring high rollers to the property.

He has 25 representatives in 35 North American cities - all approved by the OLGC, each of whom have lists of between 5,000 and 15,000 high-stakes gamblers. Their job, he said, is to bring those players to Niagara Falls.

And, he added, it's working.

He credits local businesses and the Falls Management Company for creating a full spectrum of events and venues occasional and high-stakes gamblers and their families can enjoy.

That work, Zidenberg said, not only helps each individual facility, it's good for all of Niagara.

"There are 16,000 rooms just minutes away from here," he said. "And exactly as Steve Wynn said, they've enclosed and summerized."

Zidenberg said with Fallsview's reputation as Canada's premiere gambling destination entrenched in the United States, it's time to look east to Europe, the Middle East and Asia to attract new players, particularly in China.

With more freedom to travel, many Chinese come to Toronto to visit relatives. A day trip to Niagara Falls, he said, is almost guaranteed, as long as people understand how close a drive it is.

"We have to close the gap between here and Toronto, and we have to market more deeply to the multicultural population (living there)," he said.

Zidenberg said there are several new projects on the horizon that will help brand Niagara Falls not only in North America, but around the world.

"We planted the seeds a number of years ago," he said. "Those seeds are now fruit-bearing trees."
http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/web...s&classif=News
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Old May 29th, 2006, 08:45 PM   #42
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City budget needs $36M more: Report
Cash for downtown projects

NIAGARA FALLS City council should spend about $36 million between now and 2008 creating the right conditions to encourage more activity in the downtown area, a report from the city’s finance department says.

“We’ve designated downtown as an area for revitalization,” said Ald. Wayne Campbell, chairman of the city’s corporate services committee. “We’ve got a developer (interested in investing). There needs to be some further money into the ground.”

The report is on the agenda for a budget amendment meeting Monday at 6 p.m.

It lists three downtown projects and associated costs:

n $14.1 million to construct a parking garage

n $12.8 million for streetscaping, sewers, new lighting and road reconstruction

n $8.7 million for parks

n $540,000 in associated legal and planning costs

The report says the city would have to borrow about $27.8 million of the $36 million costs. Applying $6.75 million from the sale of city-owned land at the northwest corner of McLeod and Montrose roads would also go toward the downtown project. They could find $2 million from other funds already existing in the budget, the report states.

Though the report put the full cost of the improvements at more than $36 million, Mayor Ted Salci said assistance from other governments could reduce the city’s commitment. If Niagara Falls can get the federal and provincial governments to contribute one-third of the cost each, the city’s commitment would drop to about $12 million.

“We’ve got to focus our attention over the next year or so on getting those monies,” said Salci, who has often said he would only support a downtown project “if it makes sense financially.”

“I don’t want to see that borne on the backs of the taxpayers’ assessment,” Salci said.

Since 2004, council has adopted recommendations in two studies aimed at revitalizing downtown the Community Improvement Plan and the Strategic Implementation Plan.

Both studies recommend public money be used to make the area more attractive. But they indicated those improvements be made over a longer period that is being suggested now.

The pressure to move faster came earlier this year when New York City businessman Aaron Lichtman presented the Historic Niagara plan. Lichtman has said a group of investors will spend $100 million to renovate commercial property they own and attract a variety of retailers to the Queen Street area. But Lichtman has said the city’s public realm improvements need to be in place by 2008.

Lichtman had said he planned to be in Las Vegas for a convention this week, promoting to retailers the idea of setting up shop in Niagara Falls. He could not be reached to comment on whether the proposed budget changes would give his investors what they need to move ahead.

City council members support the goals of the Community Improvement Plan and Strategic Implementation Plan. But they are divided over how much money they should commit and how quickly it should unfold.

“I support the CIP. I always have,” said Ald. Janice Wing. “I can’t support doing that much in so short a period of time.”

The city shouldn’t go further into debt over the downtown project when roads and sewers need work and there are drainage problems in the rural areas of Niagara Falls, Wing said.

The $36 million council will consider adding to its capital budget Monday is in addition to the budget passed in March. That five-year plan called for the city to spend $156 million over five years on construction projects.

A capital budget is a five-year plan for spending on big-ticket items. Typically, it shows how to pay for large construction projects using long-term borrowing.

Under the budget that has been passed, the city’s debt would peak at about $53 million in 2008. It would cost about $7 million a year to pay the interest and principal repayment on a debt that size.

Adding more spending to the capital budget isn’t a guarantee it will happen. Every year, politicians adjust their capital budget to fit their current financial position.

“We can pretty well put that into next year’s budget and have a sober second look at it then,” Campbell said.

But the reason for showing the downtown improvements occurring by 2008 is to give Historic Niagara the confidence it needs to proceed.

“There would be no purpose to change that unless they weren’t walking down the same path with us,” Campbell said.

http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/web...ws%20-%20Local
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:32 AM   #43
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Oh Canada..

I remember when I went to Canada back in 2001...I find Niagara Falls and Toronto really extremely nice....
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Old May 30th, 2006, 10:02 PM   #44
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I can't wait to see how downtown develops. It's really sad to drive from Great Wolf Lodge to Clifton Hill and pass through a crummy area. I recommend visitors drive down the Parkway to avoid the Victoria Ave. eyesore.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 04:43 AM   #45
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why would anyone not drive along the parkway to begin with?
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Old June 1st, 2006, 09:48 AM   #46
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well people coming from the 420, which then becomes roberts st. might take the Victoria Ave. exit and go left. The entrance to the resort is on Victoria Ave. Check the website for directions given from Toronto.
http://greatwolf.ca/english/directions/

Only the directions from Queenston/Lewiston tell visitors to take the parkway, which is the only reasonable way. From Rainbow Bridge they recommend Victoria Ave. LOL. They should think about changing that.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 05:06 PM   #47
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i see now. is the area around epworth circle really considered to be the center of town though? i would think the center of activity has shifted south towards queen victoria park, ferry street, murray street, and fallsview boulevard. or is that area along victoria avenue and queen street and bridge street the real downtown, with the falls area acting like a new downtown (much like las vegas has a real downtown and a "new downtown": the strip. coincidentally, both of these cities are gambling towns.)
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Old June 1st, 2006, 09:28 PM   #48
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Epworth is probably the start of downtown and continues north toward Queen St. (the soon to be developed area). City hall is located here as well as some other businesses. Nothing really for tourists and the roads are rarely busy. Activity is in the tourist area like you said and that is why so many people believe it's downtown.

I don't really know anything about Vegas so I can't say anything for it.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 10:19 PM   #49
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sounds like it is like las vegas. downtown las vegas has all of the old casinos, like binion's horseshoe, the golden nugget, pioneer club, etc. many people think that the strip is downtown las vegas, though, because of all the high rises and activity. i think las vegas one-ups niagara falls, though: the strip isn't even in las vegas' city limits, so most people who go to "las vegas" don't really step foot into the actual city of las vegas unless they go to the downtown casinos or to the very very northern end of the strip (the stratosphere casino).
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Old June 9th, 2006, 11:06 PM   #50
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It's way more run down then downtown Vegas. The old police station burned down years ago and is abandoned. There are few stores operating. The place looks like a 60's ghost town. It needs residential, ie condo development around it. It can intensify nicely as the main street has many many parking lots behind it.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 01:18 AM   #51
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some condos are proposed for just north of the rainvow bridge on river road. it's meeting opposition.

Quote:
Residents fighting condo proposal
Developer advertising 29-storey development on River Road


A proposed 29-storey condominium tower on River Road promises potential buyers "life at the end of the rainbow," but some homeowners in the established residential area fear there's no pot of gold for them.

ORE Development Corp., wants to build a high-rise condominium along River Road between John and Philip streets. City council is scheduled to hear the company's application for official plan and zoning amendments at a meeting Monday.

John Simanic, a Philip Street resident, collected 200 names on a petition in the area after he learned about the plan.

"I was steadfast against it because of the size of it. It was truly a monstrous project they were proposing," said Simanic, whose family moved here last year. They bought on Philip Street because it's a quiet, established neighbourhood.

The proposed 250-unit building would rival the tallest hotels in the tourist areas. It would also be the biggest and most dense residential building in Niagara Falls, a report from the city's planning department says.

The planning department's report recommends council turn down the application because it is "completely out of character" with the surrounding neighbourhood, which is made up of homes that are a century old.

"We believe it will have a major impact on the low-density, residential area," planning director Doug Darbyson said.

Most of the 0.6 hectare (1.5-acre) property is vacant, but is designated and zoned for four-storey motel. The proposal would also require two adjacent residential properties on John Street and the closure of River Lane, a city street.

City policy allows high-rises in the tourist area, just a few blocks to the south. But there should be a gradual transition of heights from 30 storeys, to 12, then to four.

"You simply go against the grain of that height transition," Darbyson said.

Opponents of the plan also say it would change the character of the neighbourhood.

They're concerned about the increase in population density.

"It's going to turn it into Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto," said Mike Baldasio, who has lived on nearby Otter Street for five years.

"It won't be a good, positive thing for all those houses that are buried in the dark behind it," he said.

Adding 250 condos to the area would increase the number of cars travelling in the area. Simanic predicted condo-dwellers would try to avoid tourist traffic on River Road the same way existing residents do. It would create congestion on the side streets, he said.

"I've been here long enough to see how River Road gets," Simanic said.

A sign recently erected on the property advertises "life at the end of the rainbow" and announces luxury condos starting at $169,900 are "coming soon."

Calls to the company's toll-free sales office's number were not answered and the lawyer scheduled to represent the applicant could not be reached.
http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/web...0News&classif=
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Old June 15th, 2006, 05:53 AM   #52
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LOOKS LIKE THEIR IS GOING TO BE A NEW HIGHRISE ON THE HORIZON, THANK'S FOR THE HEADS UP, XZMATTZX



So a 29-storey condo does fit in on River Road?


Editorial & Opinion - Wednesday, June 14, 2006 @ 02:00

Twenty-nine storeys? Based on city council’s decision Monday night, the ORE Development Corp. should have rolled the dice a little more in its proposal to build a condominium tower on River Road.

Why stop at 29 floors? Why not 35? How about 40? Against the advice of city staff, and despite the arguments of many neighbouring residents who feared the traffic, shadowing effects and sheer height of the project, aldermen gave thumbs-up to ORE’s plans to build the 29-floor condo tower.

It will be the tallest residential building in the city and will rival most of the high-rise hotels that are also concentrated on the waterfront, but farther south in the Fallsview and Clifton Hill areas.


In approving such a tall structure, council extended the unwritten boundary that has, until now, more or less contained the super-sized towers to within the tourist-commercial area.

When built, this one will be on River Road between John and Philip streets. If this condo tower isn’t out of character with the other buildings in the area, which are mostly older two- or sometimes three-storey homes and bed-and-breakfasts, does that mean a similar tower wouldn’t be out of place further north on River at Seneca Street? Or at Bampfield Street?

The character of Clifton Hill and Fallsview is suited to big or tall buildings. They belong there and function quite well in that setting, though some would argue buildings so tall detract from the natural falls experience.

Before council’s decision Monday, city hall staff had reported the River Road project would be “completely out of character” with the neighbourhood.

But they also worried it would add too many residents to the neighbourhood, too many cars and that the building was just too big for the property it would be built on.

By a 6-1 margin (Ald. Wayne Campbell dissented, and Janice Wing declared a conflict of interest), council disagreed. Aldermen don’t always have to follow staff’s advice; that’s the way it should be. Rarely, though, do they overrule so many objections to approve a project.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 03:47 AM   #53
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i don't think the tower will be too much out of place. casino niagara and the sheraton are on the other side of the rainbow bridge and customs, so there wouldn't be too big of a gap between the two areas. the condos would still have a decent view of the falls as well, since the angle is still good, so it's somewhat reasonable to have a tower there. i couldn't see a tower any farther north, because then you'll have views of the gorger moreso than the falls. of course, a view of the gorge might be in demand in 5, 10 or 20 years, so maybe condos will go up in that area in the next generation.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 04:54 AM   #54
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any new pics of the development going on? or how about new pics of the ferris wheel?
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Old June 17th, 2006, 05:08 AM   #55
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Check out www.accessniagara.com/blog

or

http://community.webshots.com/album/548377491zOrxPW
for one photo of the ferris wheel
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Old June 17th, 2006, 06:08 AM   #56
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awesome thanks.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 01:05 AM   #57
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The skywheel opened up Friday. Last night my sister hit up Boston Pizza on the hill shortly after 1am and she said the ferris wheel was full and still had a line!!! I guess they made a pretty good investment. 42 gondolas x up to 6 ppl x up to $9.99 per person this wheel can potentially make a ton of moola.

I wonder how many ferris wheels around the world operate this late at night.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 11:48 PM   #58
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"posted by xzmattzx" A sign recently erected on the property advertises "life at the end of the rainbow" and announces luxury condos starting at $169,900 are "coming soon."

I drove by today and the signs are down I don't know if a pissed off citizen ripped them down or what it means?
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 05:21 AM   #59
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You can check out some photos of the skywheel at this website.
http://www.cliftonhill.com/falls_blo...f-view-photos/
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Old July 13th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #60
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I was just curious, does anyone know what ever happened to the deal that the fallsview casino made to build an outdoor theatre, I read something last year but I haven't seen anything lately, and how are the tourist numbers this year, I just recently moved to the area, and it allways seems crazy busy, so hopefully the numbers are higher than last year, here is hoping things continue to grow in Niagara.
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