If approved, tax break would be city’s largest ever for a hotel

William Penn

If approved by City Council, the hotel projected to be built at the corner of Chestnut and 15th streets would receive the most public dollars of any hotel built within the city limits, according to City Councilman Wilson Goode Jr.

Almost every hotel receives public subsidy, but according to Goode, the hotel would receive $115 million over the life of the 20-year tax increment financing (TIF).

At a Finance Committee hearing Thursday, City Council members listened to testimony and then pushed forward a bill which would grant a tax break for the hotel slated to be developed by Starwood Hotels and developer Brook Lenfest.

The plan is to develop W and Element hotels, which would include a total of 700 rooms, at 1441 Chestnut St. The total cost of the project is $280 million. The developers claim to only be able to cover $205 million.

Goode became combative after W Hotel developer Jeff Cohen could not tell him what the profit margin would be on the project. ”You can’t tell me how much money you’re going to make off the project?”

“I can’t give you the dollar actually, I don’t recall it, but I know it’s a single-digit return,” Cohen said.

“You can’t tell me the dollar amount? That’s funny,” Goode said. “I’ll be voting no.”

Seven operators of other big-name hotels believe the city won’t see a return on investment and city residents won’t see a lot of jobs. Also, they say the hotel is too far from the convention center.

John Grady, of the the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., said the hotel would bring more visitors into Center City and enhance the city’s walkability factor.

The main objective, proponents say, is to make room for more groups to visit the convention center and make use of the recent expansion.

Ben Rowe, chief financial officer of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, testified Thursday that it doesn’t make sense to “build a 700-room hotel for a situation that may only occur a few days out of the year.”

“The public sector has strategically invested in its tourism and convention infrastructure, and for 20 years the market has consistently shown the ability to absorb new rooms, attract new demand and increase financial performance,” Grady countered.

____________________

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

International

U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due…

U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Tel Aviv in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region has intensified.

Local

Eric Garner death prompts NYPD retraining, pols demanding…

The New York City Police Department will revise training procedures for its officers following the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner after an arrest gone awry.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.