50-Story Hotel Proposal For Center City Gains In Council

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City Council moved closer Thursday to approving millions in tax breaks for a contentious 50-story hotel development in the heart of Center City.

The $280 million tower would include two hotel brands – W and Elements – built on a parking lot at 15th and Chestnut Streets, a half-acre plot adjacent to the disastrous 1991 fire that consumed One Meridian Plaza and resulted in the deaths of three firefighters.

The developers, Brook Lenfest and Jeffrey Cohen, say they can’t build there without tax increment financing (TIF), a deal in which they would borrow $33 million and repay the loan through tax breaks authorized by the city.

The project – and TIFs in general – has its critics, and the Council chamber was packed Thursday with lobbyists, supporters, and opponents, who waited out a hearing that lasted more than five hours.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20131108_50-story_hotel_proposal_for_Center_City_gains_in_Council.html#q0H4BjrGoLvkrcT5.99

Sheraton Valley Forge Takes It Up A Notch

English: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

English: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA — The building that has known incarnations such as Sheraton Park Ridge Hotel & Conference Center, Park Ridge Hotel and, briefly, Clarion Hotel, was demolished to bare bones more than a year ago and reinvented as the Sheraton Valley Forge.

The $30 million-plus facility at 480 N. Gulph Road ups the ante — even by King of Prussia’s emerging platinum standards.

“We gutted the entire property,” said Eric Davies, COO of the hotel’s owner and operator Wurzak Hotel Group, standing near a dramatic, high-ceilinged entrance way shimmering with reflective daylight.  “Everything is pretty much 100 percent new.  We raised the bar area to lobby level and opened up a two-story entrance to have natural light coming through and into the lounge seating area.”

Philadelphia-based Wurzak purchased the 9-acre property in 2009 and continued operating it as a Clarion Hotel such for a time prior to franchising the Sheraton brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., through a deal that was closed by HREC Investments Advisors.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121019/FINANCE01/121019353/sheraton-valley-forge-takes-it-up-a-notch&pager=full_story