Developer says he’s stymied by village in trying to move forward with Holley Hotel

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2023 at 1:20 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, said the village is putting up roadblocks in his efforts to upgrade the Holley Hotel.

HOLLEY – The developer looking to acquire the Holley Hotel and upgrade the site, with some of the units to be available for hotel rooms, said he is close to walking away from the project due to roadblocks from village officials.

Rollin Hellner, founder and CEO of Hellner Development Company, said the village has put a stop work order on his attempts to resolve code violations and secure a certificate of occupancy.

He has been working on the building while finalizing a deal with Kathy Blackburn to acquire the site.

Hellner spoke at Tuesday’s Village Board and said Holley has been a difficult municipality to work with, compared to his experiences in other communities, including the City of Buffalo where he said he did a $28 million renovation project.

“It is a really beautiful historical building,” Hellner said about the Holley Hotel. “Our goal is to clean it up.”

Residents in apartments at the Holley Hotel were forced to leave the site on Aug. 24 after the previous village code enforcement officer deemed the building was unsafe and unsanitary on Aug. 3. Residents were given three weeks to find alternative housing.

Hellner said Blackburn made progress with many of the violations and public health issues. He said the rodent and bed bug issues are resolved. The fire escape also has been repaired.

He would like to move forward but isn’t clear why the village stopped work on the building.

“There are currently no hazards,” he said. “A certificate of occupancy should be issued.”

Mayor Mark Bower said at the meeting he didn’t appreciate Hellner’s characterization of village employees and how they’ve handled the issues at the site.

Contacted today he said that Holley’s attorney John Sansone and code enforcement officer Carol McNees are meeting with Hellner to discuss the situation.