Feb. 12--Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott said today that he is satisfied with a $65,000-a-year payment agreement related to a county government loan guarantee for a new hotel at the Bayfront Convention Center.
Sinnott said the arrangement "will help add the infrastructure we need" to boost development along Erie's bayfront, including the former GAF Materials Corp. property.
Sinnott was asked about the issue in the wake of Erie County Council's 4-2 vote Tuesday night vote approving a debt guarantee of up to $60 million for the new hotel. Council signed off after the Convention Center Authority on Tuesday agreed to give the county $65,000 a year, or an estimated $2 million, in exchange for the loan guarantee over the life of the 30-year bonds needed for the project.
Sinnott was involved in high-level talks with Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and other local officials Friday and Monday about bayfront development as County Council's vote approached.
"It will keep GAF moving," Sinnott said of the arrangement. "And it will provide the hotel space we need immediately down there for the convention business."
Sinnott and the Convention Center Authority both want GAF redeveloped as a mixed-use development that generates property taxes.
Some members of County Council wanted a standard payment in lieu of taxes agreement regarding the new hotel, but Convention Center Authority officials determined that would cost the authority about $600,000 a year and jeopardize the finances of the hotel project.
Sinnott said he told Convention Center Authority officials "I want the city of Erie included" if a standard P.I.L.O.T. was negotiated.
"They said they couldn't do one and make the (financial) numbers work," Sinnott said.
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