The 136,000-sf center on the Sassafras Pier is paired with theeight-story, 203-room Erie Sheraton Hotel, still under constructionon the West Dobbins Landing adjacent to the pier. A 65-foot-highpedestrian skywalk connects the two.

"The hotel is surrounded by water on three sides. The conventioncenter is designed to look like a ship, with mast on it," JoanCleland, president of Acquest Realty Advisors, tells"The views are going to be spectacular." The skyway's height is notjust for aesthetics: it needs to be high enough to let masted shipssail under it.

The hotel and skywalk have a combined $47.8-million price tag,the convention center is $44 million, and the parking garage is$9.1 million, for a total project cost of $100.9 million. The ErieCounty Bayfront Convention Center Authority is owner of thecomplex. White Lodging Services Corp. will manage the hotel onceit's completed.

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