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Bay watch: Community celebrates Hideaway Resort opening

OBSERVER Photos by Gregory Bacon “Hideaway Bay ribbon cutting” Kevin Cullen cuts the ribbon during the grand opening of Hideaway Bay Resort, with friends, family and area leaders by his side.

SILVER CREEK – For years Kevin Cullen would paddle on Lake Erie passed where the former Hideaway Bay Restaurant sat. He had dreams of what that plot of land could be. Those dreams became a reality as he is now the owner of a new development there that not only has a restaurant, but also offers high end camping and hosts other events.

On Tuesday, area leaders gathered with Kevin and Christian Cullen to celebrate Hideaway Bay Resort. The resort will begin limited operations on Friday and should be fully operational by next month, including Drift Restaurant, which will be open to the public.

Hideaway Bay Resort, a four-season, eco-friendly resort and event center, is located on 3.6 acres of secluded lakefront property just to the east of the Walnut Creek outlet on Lake Erie in Silver Creek. It is the culmination of a $2 million redevelopment project made possible by an ownership team represented by Kevin and Christian Cullen of Adventure Sports Development, and Mathew and Gene Tundo of Tundo Construction. In 2021, the group formed 42 Lake Erie, LLC to develop the project.

The resort has 10 villas. According to Kevin Cullen, each unit has a queen bed in the bottom and in the loft, flat screen TVs, and a kitchenette. There will be water sports, including a kayak launch, paddleboards and kiteboarding. There’s a wood fire sauna and hot tub, as well as a beach bar.

Kevin Cullen said people can stay there for a single or multiple nights. It’s also available for weddings, baby showers and other events.

From left: Hideaway Bay Resort owners Christian and Kevin Cullen, and their two children, are pictured with Gene Tundo of Tundo Construction, Industrial Development Director Mark Geise, and County Executive PJ Wendel.

The Hideaway Bay Restaurant was a popular spot but later closed down and the facility was not cared for. In 2016, it was turned over to the Chautauqua County Land Bank, after it was originally set for foreclosure. Then in 2020 the building was destroyed by a fire.

By the time the fire hit, the Cullens had already submitted their plans for redevelopment of the property. Although the fire was discouraging, it didn’t stop them, only altered their plans.

County Executive PJ Wendel thanked the Cullens for not giving up. “Kevin and Christian saw something that no one else saw. And their investors saw the same thing,” he said.

Funding for the project came from a variety of public and private sources, including the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, which authorized tax abatements and exemptions for the project and a 15-year Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement totaling $191,285 for the involved taxing jurisdictions, along with a $491,210 low-interest loan. The county IDA also provided extensive project coordination and technical expertise.

Additionally, the project received a $434,000 low interest loan from New York State’s Homes and Community Renewal program, funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.

A large crowd gathered at Hideaway Bay Resort to celebrate its grand opening.

A total of 30 temporary construction jobs benefited from the project and 16 new jobs created, once fully open.

For more information, visit www.hideawaybayresortny.com.

Lisa Vanstrom, representing state Sen. George Borrello, speaks during a ceremony during the grand opening of Hideaway Bay Resort.

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