Statler Buffalo, completed in 1923, holds a special place in Buffalo’s history. Originally called Hotel Statler, it was the successor to Ellsworth Statler’s first hotel in the city. The original Hotel Statler, at Swan and Washington Streets in Buffalo, was opened in 1907. It was renamed Hotel Buffalo in 1923 upon completion of the new Hotel Statler at Niagara Square, but Statler continued to operate it until the 1930s, when they sold it. The Hotel Buffalo closed in 1967 and was finally demolished in 1968. The site remained vacant until Pilot Field was built there in 1988, now known as Sahlen Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons baseball team.
Ellsworth Statler revolutionized the hotel industry through his dedication to quality, innovation, and customer service. Statler’s commitment to his employees and guests, as well as his creative advertising, made his hotel chain a resounding success. Hotel Statler featured modern innovations, notably a bath in every room, that made Statler hotels the new standard of lodging in America. In the 1950s, he was honored with the title “Hotel Man of the Half Century.”
Hotel Statler had everything from a ballroom, a restaurant with dining rooms, a Turkish bath, and a barber shop. Throughout the years, multiple presidents stayed here along with celebrities such as Elvis and Dean Martin. Anyone who was anyone, if they came to Buffalo, they stayed at the Statler. It was a testament to Buffalo’s exuberance, ambition, and hospitality during the 1920s and was Buffalo’s most elaborate luxury hotel at the time.
In 1928, Ellsworth Statler passed away at the age of 64. His wife, Alice, continued running the company. In 1954, Alice sold the company to Hilton Hotels and completed history’s largest hotel merger.
Through the years following, Hotel Statler slowly made its transition into offices up until the 80’s when the hotels closed completely while the event spaces on the first few levels remained operational. In 2008 the building closed completely.
In 2011, Buffalo real estate developer Mark Croce purchased the building and rebranded it as Statler City. Renovations began quickly and the event spaces were up and running in no time.
In 2020, the Statler was purchased by Douglas Jemal, who initiated exterior improvements and began the development of the historic building into a mixed-use facility, offering apartments, entertainment options, and grand ballrooms.
The building, now called Statler Buffalo, lives on as a symbol of innovation, luxury, and community in Buffalo’s history. It stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the city and its commitment to preserving its architectural heritage. Today, it is poised to regain its status as a cultural and social hub in downtown Buffalo, carrying on the traditions of its storied past.