Many leaders were on-hand for Friday's groundbreaking of Scott Enterprise’s Harbor Place development, on Erie’s Bayfront.

And they're all excited to see this private development happening on one of our region's greatest assets.

In about a year, Erie's Bayfront will look much different, when the first phase of Harbor Place is completed, and that's exciting news for tourism leaders, “It's going to be exciting for our future visitors coming here, because this is really the first step, an additional step, in taking advantage of the Bayfront that we have,” said VisitErie President and CEO, John Oliver.

The 9-phase Harbor Place project will transform the east side of the Bayfront, bringing not only visitors to the area to spend money, but residents of the region too, “It's so exciting to see this development really starting to move forward and take shape, it's going to be a premier development on our Bayfront and something that I think a lot of people have been looking forward to,” said Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.

This groundbreaking is evidence that companies are taking advantage of our region's greatest asset, all while providing the area with a massive economic boost, “When they have a place along this waterfront that they can stroll, they can stop and eat, they can ice skate, really a lot of exciting things, that is the kind of development that I think is going to drive the economy of this region,” said Dahlkemper.

Erie Mayor Joe Schember says he’s excited about this private development in the city, and he’d like to see it continue along Erie’s Bayfront. So, to encourage developers, he wants the city to extend its LERTA tax break program, to include Erie’s Bayfront, “It (LERTA) doesn't exist on the Bayfront, it's throughout most of the rest of Erie, and it's important we get it down here too, to give developers like the Scott’s that extra little push that they're going to do more, more quickly,” said Schember.

Under the proposal, LERTA would provide developers city-wide, 10 years of not having to pay taxes. Erie city council passed the first reading of the ordinance, but they’re doing more research with the county and school district before it moves forward to a second reading.

 

The former GAF site on the west side of the Bayfront remains empty, Erie's Convention Center Authority owns that property and is currently looking for developers.

And once that happens, leaders say it'll help complete the whole Bayfront, creating one incredible draw for visitors.