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Commissioner Martin sets news conference on Lancaster convention center

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Lancaster County Commissioner Scott F. Martin has scheduled a news conference on the Lancaster County Convention Center financing plan for 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

The integrated $178 million facility opened in downtown Lancaster in 2009 and includes both the convention center proper, which is a publicly owned entity under the direction of LCCCA, and The Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, which is owned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster and leased to Penn Square Partners, the private company that holds the Marriott franchise.

Martin has been leading negotiations for about two years as bondholder Wells Fargo extended its deadline to adjust interest rates. On May 23, he announced what he said was his final proposal, with a June 11 deadline for all other parties to sign on.

The plan was for the commissioners to then advertise its plans to vote on its part of the proposal in their June 18 meeting, as the current Wells Fargo extension will expire June 30. The bank, Martin said, had signaled that this proposal was the end of the road.

The latest public update on the plan was mid-afternoon on June 10. Martin had said that all parties except Penn Square Partners had agreed to the plan. Penn Square Partners said it had signed the agreement, too, but made release of the document contingent on Lancaster County Convention Center Authority's execution of two secondary agreements.

If the deal doesn't happen, Martin said, the convention center could exhaust its available funds and close — the estimate he cited was within about 18 months. Asked for his perspective on the convention center's future, LCCCA Executive Director Kevin Molloy said last week that he would have to see what terms Wells Fargo imposes if the plan doesn't go through.

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