After about two years of intense negotiation and a big dose of last-minute drama, the Lancaster County Convention Center has put the threat of default behind it for five years.
The final part of the deal to implement a "bridge" financing deal to stabilize the center's financing for the next five years came down to a vote this morning of Lancaster County Commissioners Dennis Stuckey, Craig Lehman and Scott F. Martin, who was the lead negotiator on the agreement.
The plan passed 2-1, with Martin and Stuckey in favor and Lehman voting against it.
The convention center opened in downtown Lancaster in 2009. The integrated $178 million facility includes both the convention center proper, which is a publicly owned entity under the direction of Lancaster County Convention Center Authority, 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.
Wells Fargo holds about $64 million in bonds on the center and signaled that today's 5 p.m. deadline was the end of the line on extensions it had been granting as the negotiations took place.