Scott Enterprises Makes Rare Political Move - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Scott Enterprises Makes Rare Political Move

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In a rare political move, Scott Enterprises is asking all 38 Erie County municipalities to take a stand on the bayfront hotel development question now before Erie County Council. 

The Scott family is asking municipality officials to put pressure on county government to deny a request from the Erie County Convention Center Authority to approve a guarantee of some 35 million dollars in bonds to back the development of a new hotel just west of the Bayfront Convention Center.

"We sent a letter and gave them all an opportunity to sign a resolution telling the county that they are not interested in this bond guarantee," said Nick Scott Jr, vice president of Scott Enterprises.

The letter was emailed on Friday evening to all municipality officials with a proposed resolution, asking each to sign it and to submit it to county government in February, and to ask the county to delay their action on a vote planned for February 11. 

Harborcreek does not plan to get involved at the time.

"We take the request very seriously because the Scott family is very important to the community, certainly to Harborcreek and also Erie County wide. But at the end of the day, I don't think it's something we're going to address, and I don't think it's appropriate for us to address," said Dean Pepicello, a Harborcreek supervisor.

"This decision of a guarantee is probably we won't weigh in on and ultimately, should be made at the county level," Pepicello said.

Scott Enterprises is planning a multi-million dollar development on bayfront property east of State Street, called Harbor Place. They say that their private development would be threatened if County Council moves forward with the public fund guarantee.

"If a 200 room publicly funded hotel is approved, we now have 400 rooms next to us. Its going to make it very difficult for us and we would have to step back and look at our project, but certainly it would be put in jeopardy," Scott said. 

"The money we're putting in the project is private money... Competing against the public dollar and being able to compete a bond like that would difficult for us if it was approved," Scott added.

A privately funded hotel would provide tax income for the city, county and Erie's Public Schools.

County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper acknowledges that Scott Enterprises would face additional competition if another hotel were built, but says it might not be a problem.

"The Sheraton and the convention center have created more of a market. So the pie hasn't been cut into smaller pieces, it's actually become bigger for everybody," Dahlkemper said. "Market studies show that three hotels can make it down there."

"Should we do both? That's really the question here," Dahlkemper said.




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