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Dec. 07--The Bethlehem Revitalization and Improvement Authority held an hour-long, sometimes pointed meeting Tuesday about a $35 million expansion of the Hotel Bethlehem.

Bruce Haines, the managing owner, was making his case to get a special tax incentive that would allow the investors to pay off construction bonds with certain local and state taxes generated from the expansion.

But the discussion drew some pointed exchanges between Haines and the authority. It ended with Haines saying he didn't feel the authority supported his project and promised to shelve the plans.

The authority ultimately tabled the issue after Haines left the meeting room.

Here are a few barbs that didn't make the newspaper today:

Haines

"You're worried about the little nits and lice and you got a transformational project here, and an opportunity to really make something happen."

Joseph Kelly, authority member, to Haines

"I had one meeting with you. I gave you what [I wanted you to look into]...Sitting here today, what I've found out is that you've dismissed them as unimportant, which again, is your right. But I think there is a way to look at this ...to make sure we're using this [CRIZ] increment in as good of a way to benefit downtown businesses throughout Main Street. I get it: it can be a really transformational project down there."

Hotel Bethlehem makes its case for the CRIZ tax incentive.

Hotel Bethlehem makes its case for the CRIZ tax incentive.

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Nicole Radzievich

Hotel Bethlehem is pulling its proposal for a $37 million expansion after managing owner Bruce Haines said Tuesday he wasn't "feeling the love" from a key city panel.

Haines abruptly walked out near the end of a public meeting where he was making his case for a special tax incentive, the City Revitalization...

Hotel Bethlehem is pulling its proposal for a $37 million expansion after managing owner Bruce Haines said Tuesday he wasn't "feeling the love" from a key city panel.

Haines abruptly walked out near the end of a public meeting where he was making his case for a special tax incentive, the City Revitalization...

(Nicole Radzievich)

James Broughal, chairman of the authority

"We're putting in a tremendous amount of public dollars over a very long period of time. I personally don't think the public is getting enough out of this project as it currently sits."

Haines

"I'm 72 years old I'm not going to be here forever, but this project will be here for the benefit of the city for the next 100 years, and you guys are standing in the way of it..."

Haines

"Thanks, very much Bethlehem, but you can take the acreage and put it somewhere else."

nicole.mertz@mcall.com

610-778-2253

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