Historic Hotel Lenhart Set to Breathe New Life into Community

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CCIDA Approves Incentives for Hotel Lenhart Renovations

Article Contributed by
County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA)

At its March 28, 2023 meeting, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) Board of Directors approved incentives to support redevelopment of the historic Hotel Lenhart in the Village of Bemus Point and Town of Ellery.

PILOT/Tax Lease incentives were approved by the CCIDA for the nearly $9.9 million project being undertaken by Chautauqua Lake Hospitality, LLC, which will include real property, sales, and mortgage recording tax abatements to make the project economically feasible.

Chautauqua Lake Hospitality, LLC proposes to acquire the historic Hotel Lenhart located on Chautauqua Lake in the Village of Bemus Point, and completely renovate it to create a year-round destination. The hotel, originally constructed as a boarding house, has been in operation since 1880. In the past it only operated from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This major project will include installation of an elevator and other ADA compliant improvements, and the complete renovation of the guest rooms and common areas. The final product will result in a total of 40 guest rooms with all of the modern conveniences, while retaining the historic character of the hotel. An expanded dining area will accommodate guests and visitors, while other amenities will include an event space, spa, and pool.

Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer of the CCIDA said, “This project is important on many levels! It will not only provide a year-round destination spot to invigorate the Village of Bemus Point, it will restore one of the five original grand hotels that used to adorn Chautauqua Lake’s shores. I am confident that the Curry’s will rise to the challenge in creating something truly spectacular. This is a great project for the Village, the County, and the region, and I’m glad the CCIDA could play a major role in seeing it to fruition.”

Revitalization of the Lenhart Hotel will directly address the priority goal of tourism development for the region by creating an upscale year-round waterfront attraction that will generate tourism revenues; increase sales, property, and bed tax revenues; enhance local retail and service opportunities in Bemus Point; create jobs; and complement other area attractions.

Village of Bemus Point’s Mayor, Jeffrey Molnar, said “The Village of Bemus Point appreciates the interest that Chautauqua Lake Hospitality, LLC Bill/Jill Curry have in preserving our historic “grand hotel” to new splendor. We realize that this is a massive undertaking which will be a game changer for the Village. We appreciate their passion for not only the historic preservation aspect, but also from their plan to integrate their business into the community by offering their amenities and space for community use. We value their commitment to creating a historically charming but modern and code compliant local and regional destination, providing jobs and opportunities for many. They truly understand Bemus Point’s shared vision of a family friendly community known for its small-town charm, an atmosphere that is welcoming to visitors, and our efforts aimed at maintaining a balance between economic, social, and environmental resources. We have been happy to assist with grant administration and we look forward to the day when the rockers and lawn chairs are again filled!”

“I am excited about the investment that is being made in one of the two remaining 19th Century hotels that was an essential part of Chautauqua Lake’s grand era,” said Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel. “This investment will ensure the tradition of Victorian hospitality with modern amenities so the hotel can continue to attract visitors to our community for years to come.”

Jill and Bill Curry, owners of Chautauqua Lake Hospitality LLC, said “The Hotel Lenhart renovation and subsequent operation by our family is an endeavor we are very excited and passionate about. We see it as a privilege to uphold the legacy of the hotel and to make it a vital part of the Village of Bemus Point. We are advocates for building originality, with an upscale approach. Modern elegance and historic charm will tie flawlessly together to create a very special venue for local residents and visitors to enjoy. The level of service and experience that we will bring to the community will be like no other. The hotel and cottages will welcome visitors year-round, which we anticipate will drive additional economic development in the area. This will be great for everyone! We can’t wait for guests to arrive and begin creating their own stories and memories at this special iconic landmark once the project is complete.”

“Oh, the rocking chairs? The rocking chairs will remain and we welcome all to enjoy the magnificent sunset from the front porch and lawn or from the rooftop lounge, Bemus Sky,” said the Curry’s. “Either way, the sight will be spectacular! None of this could have been possible without the dedication and hard work of our friends at the CCIDA: Mark Geise, Rich Dixon, and Rosemarie Strandburg. From the very first meeting about this project with Mark and Rosie during the spring of 2021, they have been absolutely top notch to work with. Professional, insightful, and strong advocates for the project, and we are grateful for all of their support and expertise. “

About CCIDA

The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, and visit. They facilitate development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention by our businesses. For more information visit www.ccida.com.