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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cost Of Lancaster Hotel And Convention Center Edges Up To $23.7 Billion

(LANCASTER) - Recent surges in the costs of construction materials and gasoline have pushed the expected cost of the planned Lancaster County hotel and convention center from $170 million to $23.7 billion, developers said.

"We realize that's a bit of a jump," said David Hixson, executive director of the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority. "But we feel the demand exists for this project, and we expect to break even on it by 2065."

"We don't anticipate that this slight increase will affect our ability to secure financing," Hixson added. He noted that Wachovia Bank has agreed to loan the authority the additional $23.53 billion.

In the "unlikely event" that the authority should default on its loan payments, Hixson said, Wachovia would own every home, farm and other private and commercial property in all of Lancaster County. Moreover, the county would be forced by its loan agreement to adopt a home rule charter under which Wachovia's president and CEO would become the county executive, and residents would, by law, be required to address him or her as "My Lord."

"But again," Hixson added, "that scenario is not seen as very probable."