Second Bayfront Hotel: County Asked for Financial Guarantees - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Second Bayfront Hotel: County Asked for Financial Guarantees

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The Erie County Convention Center Authority wants Erie County government to guarantee the financing to build another bayfront hotel. County council will get a first look at the plan next week. But opposition is already forming.

The authority has secured a $25 million state grant to build a hotel to the west of the Bayfront Convention Center, on the site of an existing parking lot. Like the nearby Bayfront Sheraton, the authority wants to county to back or guarantee up to $30 million in bonds or bank financing to build the hotel.

 Supporters say the gurantee will mean a lower interest rate. Council will get details of the plan next Thursday.

 Council member Phil Fatica said, "We are going to listen very, very carefully to what they have to say to us. What is our exposure?"

 But opponents say the whole concept of using public money on a hotel is wrong.

Nick Scott, Jr. of Scott Enterprises said, "So adding anotehr 200 rooms, their argument is that will mean more conventions. How many more? One or two? Is it worth putting $55 million on the taxpayers backs for one or two conventions a year? I think that is absurd and crazy."

 The point man on the proposed deal, Erie County Convention Center Authority member Roger Richards was not available for comment.

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