It’s time for a $7.5 million makeover at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel

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New furnishings, upgrades to guest rooms and public areas, and a host of other upgrades are coming to the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel as part of a planned $7.5 million renovation.

The Erie County Convention Center Authority Board of Directors on Thursday approved the work, which is “necessary to meet Marriott brand requirements,” said Casey Wells, executive director of Erie Events.

After:After nearly 40 years at the helm, Erie Events Executive Director Casey Wells is retiring

Erie Events oversees the eight-story, 200-room Sheraton, 55 West Bay Road, which opened in 2008, was built for $60 million and is connected to the Bayfront Convention Center by an overhead public walkway.

The Convention Center Authority oversees Erie events.

The Sheraton is one of two publicly funded hotels under the Erie Events umbrella. The $58.5 million Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel, a 192-room, 107,000-square-foot hotel located at 2 Sassafras Pier, opened in 2016.

Wells said Marriott International is demanding the Sheraton upgrades and will contribute $2 million to the work. Marriott bought Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which includes the Sheraton brand, in late 2016.

Erie Events will use various reserve funds to cover the additional $5.5 million for renovations, which are expected to begin before the end of the year. Work is expected to be completed next June, Wells said.

“We have already received design concepts, renderings, material models, and plans for guest rooms, public areas and furniture selection are being reviewed by Marriott,” Wells said.

“You definitely need to meet brand standards and complete renovations on a schedule,” Wells said. “It’s just the normal course of business.”

Wells said Marriott gives Erie Events some design latitude.

“The design will reflect maritime themes due to our waterfront location,” Wells said.

Work was originally scheduled to begin in 2020, Wells said. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused widespread construction stoppages starting in March 2020, delayed the project.

Wells said early summer 2023 is the target completion time “because to do that you have to take the rooms offline. We want to be at full capacity for most of the summer.”

New furniture, light fixtures part of the renovations

The Sheraton saw approximately $2 million in renovations in 2014 — including painting, new furniture and carpeting, and replacement of vinyl wall coverings throughout the hotel — as part of renovations mandated at the time by Starwood.

Dan Pora, general manager of the Sheraton, said the renovations will include “a complete overhaul” of the Sheraton’s rooms.

“All furniture, fixtures and fittings will be off. There will be brighter designs and colors,” Pora said.

Hotel hallways will see new carpeting and lighting, Pora said, and the Sheraton lobby will be revamped with “new common areas that encourage gatherings” and a daytime coffee bar.

Additionally, the hotel’s restaurant, the Bayfront Grille, will see new furniture, equipment and an updated layout for dining tables, Pora said.

“We’re very excited,” Pora said. “We were really due for a refresh here.”

Renovations:Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel construction is complete

The Sheraton and Courtyard by Marriott, which sits on valuable waterfront property, have been the subject of tax-related legal battles in recent years.

The Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel and the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel are both physically connected to the Bayfront Convention Center.

The City of Erie and the Erie School District challenged their tax-exempt status in court. However, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania court dismissed the arguments in July 2021, upholding property tax exemptions for hotels and their parking lots. The Court of Appeal decided that hotels/garages would remain tax exempt.

Legal battle:State appeals court upholds exemptions for Sheraton and Marriott in Erie Bayfront hotels tax case

Contact Kevin Flowers at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ETNflowers.

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