One last shot to refinance Lancaster's Convention Center

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 19, 2014 4:00 AM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

Martin jokes he's added a few gray hairs since starting work on the deal, but isn't sure if that's from his 3 year old son.

(Lancaster) -- The Lancaster County Convention Center has one last plan to avoid a loan default, but it's coming down to a last minute vote, and it's because one partner failed to sign on to the deal without conditions.

Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin has worked on the deal for months now.

He wanted all partners on the Convention Center to agree to the refinancing deal, but hotel operator Penn Square Partners wanted a 95 year commitment on maintenance and upkeep of shared spaces in exchange.

Martin says that's far too long for a 5 year refinancing.

"We still met the goal of keeping the facility open, and doing some of the things it takes to hopefully generate the business coming down there. We preserve the hotel tax still, without raising it," says Martin, calling the new plan bittersweet.

The current loan extension runs until July 1st at 5 p.m.

Adds Martin: "I still think this a win overall for the community. I still look at it as being an almost complete community collaboration. But those efforts will be ongoing as we look to solve this long term."

County commissioners will vote on a new deal at 10 a.m. that same day.

Lancaster County guarantees $20 million of the loan, and under the new plan, would back the entire $63 million balance.

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