Chain restaurants drawn to Falls

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    From the Buffalo News:

    Many people who work and play in downtown Niagara Falls were pleasantly surprised to see a TGI Fridays open in the Sheraton at the Falls hotel in June.

    But Faisal Merani saw the move coming. The Canadian hotelier soon announced his own plans to fill a major gap in downtown dining with a key component: more chains.

    “We just had one open up, but I think the city could do five or six more without blinking an eye,” Merani recently told the city’s development board.

    His plans to attract a chain restaurant to his Holiday Inn at First Street and Buffalo Avenue, along with the DiCienzo family’s renovation of the Sheraton property, has local officials noting advantages and drawbacks of chain restaurants.

    The chains also have tourism and development officials pointing at a steadily expanding downtown hotel market that has caught the interest of major developers from Niagara Falls, Ont.

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