New Hotels Headed to the Bay - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

New Hotels Headed to the Bay

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Erie tourism officials say they can book more conventions in Erie if they have more downtown hotels rooms, and it looks as if that's about to happen.

We've learned there may be two new hotels coming to the Erie bayfront, and the additional hotels rooms could go along way to bringing more convention business here.

Erie Convention Center officials confirmed the news that Governor Tom Corbett's administration is sending 25 million dollars in state funds to Erie to help develop a hotel west of the convention center.

The location will be the Sassafras pier area, now used as a parking and loading site, just west of the Bayfront Convention center. The hotel costs are estimated at 55 million dollars, with plans for the building to connect to the convention center on the west, as the Bayfront Sheraton does now from the east. 

The state grant will come in 5 million dollar increments.  The first payment was released last week.  The authority plans to cover the rest of the costs with a bond issue. The idea is to make it a lower cost stay than the Sheraton, to broaden what convention goers can find, in close proximity to the BCC.

John Oliver from VisitErie was not surprised by the news.  He knows the authority has responded to concerns that a lack of rooms on the bayfront has been an obstacle to some convention business.  "Obviously the more rooms you have the larger the size of the group" said Oliver.  "We've always thought, if you could add another couple hundred rooms, say 150 to 250 more, it certainly would increase the opportunity for us to secure additional groups."

Scott Enterprises owns bayfront land too, some of it just west and south of Blasco Library, and the family's business had long talked about hotel development.  12News Lisa Adams asked if a hotel is still in the plan, and Nick Scott Jr. issued this response. "We continue to develop our plans to open a hotel on Erie's bayfront within the next year.  The hotel is part of a master mixed use development plan that will help revitalize Erie's waterfront.  We look forward to sharing our plan with the public soon."

As for the Convention Center Authority, they're hoping to break ground in the next few months, so the hotel could be on the horizon in two years. @

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