News Column

Bayfront hotel debt guarantee on Erie County Council's agenda Tuesday for first reading

January 24, 2014

By Kevin Flowers, Erie Times-News, Pa.

Jan. 24 -- Erie County Council will hold a first reading Tuesday night on a debt guarantee of up to $60 million for a proposed new publicly financed hotel adjacent to the Bayfront Convention Center . Council discussed the issue with officials from the Erie County Convention Center Authority at a Finance Committee meeting this afternoon at the Erie County Courthouse . The authority is seeking a guarantee related to either a long-term capital bond or bank financing, said Roger Richards , a Convention Center Authority board member who heads the authority's Strategic Planning Committee. Although the authority asked for a debt guarantee of up to $60 million , Richards said, the guarantee would likely only apply to about $35 million , because a $25 million state grant is also being used to fund the hotel. A county guarantee would allow the Convention Center Authority to obtain a lower interest rate on the debt. The county would be on the hook for repayment if the authority defaulted on its loan. Officials from Scott Enterprises Inc. , which recently announced plans for a $150 million private waterfront development, have lobbied County Council to oppose the guarantee. Convention Center Authority officials told council members today there is room for both public and private hotel development on the bayfront. Council does not vote on first-reading ordinances, and unlike resolutions -- which require only one reading -- ordinances require two readings before passage. County Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Erie County Courthouse , 140 W. Sixth St. ___ (c)2014 the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.) Visit the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: Erie Times-News (PA)

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