Latest post in a series about Wind Creek Casino
Wind Creek advanced its case Thursday to tap a lucrative tax incentive for a $100 million hotel near its casino in south Bethlehem. The authority overseeing the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone deemed the 12-story hotel as a “qualified” project for the incentive, which casino executives say would make the hotel grander with 270 rooms, a swanky lobby, spa, bar and 35,000 square feet of meeting space including three ballrooms, positioning Wind Creek to attract larger meeting groups.
The CRIZ would allow developers to tap certain state and local taxes derived from new development to pay off construction loans. Money would also be set aside to help pay for city projects such as lighting on the South Side, acquisition of land for connections at the Greenway rails-to-trails park, and Christmas decorations.
Wind Creek, the city’s largest employer, expects the project to add 80 operations jobs and 400 construction jobs. Wind Creek employs 2,350 people. Wind Creek’s proposed hotel would be built near the 282-room one and wrap around the Wind Creek Event Center. All told, there would be 362,000 square feet of new development and 50,236 square feet of renovations, according to plans expected to go before the planning commission next week.
Last year, Wind creek executives said they had been considering the concept of a a $250 million plan to turn the crumbling No. 2 Machine Shop into a 300,000-square-foot adventure and water park that also would include a roughly 400-room hotel. Carr said at Thursday’s meeting he was not prepared to talk about that project and wanted to focus on the hotel.
A second hotel is a safe bet for Wind Creek because the existing 282-room hotel carries a 93% occupancy rate, resulting in visitors being turned away four nights a week, and demand for meeting space has exceeds the facility’s capacity.
Gadfly’s catching up on Wind Creek news and will provide some video next time.