Convention Center saga continues…

Penn Square Partners is the private company that has proposed building a “publicly” funded hotel to be attached to a proposed convention center to be built in downtown Lancaster, PA. As part of their ongoing effort to receive more and more public subsidies, in January of this year they gave Lancaster City, Lancaster County, and the School District of Lancaster an ultimatum: Approve Tax Increment Financing tax relief for 20 years, before the “state deadline” of the end of April, or they will pull out of the project they have been pushing onto the public so hard for the last seven years. Their promise is that, in exchange for not having to pay taxes for 20 years, they will “guarantee” payments that are much lower than the taxes they would have to pay on the completed building; these payments would be contingent on the financial performance of the hotel property.

Last evening (Tuesday 15 March 2005), the School Board rejected PSP’s ultimatum; instead, they approved a TIF that still would give PSP a major break on property taxes, just not nearly as much as PSP had demanded. Today, PSP has announced they are pulling out of the hotel project; they have gone as far as to remove their signs from the site. The impression being left by the leaders of PSP is that of little children who don’t get their own way, and take their toys and go home. The president of PSP on TV tonight looked like he was going to stamp his feet and throw a temper tantrum on camera! Of course, they are placing all of the blame on the members of the School Board, who were brave enough to stand up against PSP’s ongoing threats.

Unfortunately, I believe this is just another negotiating tactic on the part of the PSP. I’d like to believe this is the end, but PSP has proven repeatedly that they can’t be trusted.

To be continued…

Artie See

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook