After three weeks and as many e-mail messages, NewsLanc has yet to hear back from Thomas Smithgall, Senior V.P. of Development for High Real Estate Group, regarding the decision to jointly meter the Marriott Hotel and the Lancaster County Convention Center. High was the master developer for the Hotel and Convention Center and is also the general partner in the Penn Square Partners, which owns the aforementioned Marriott franchise.
On August 10, NewsLanc published “ARCHITECT FIRM SAYS OWNERS DECIDED ON CC PROJECT METERING,” an article recounting our discussions with representatives of Cooper Carry, the architectural firm responsible for the Convention Center/Hotel design. The article disclosed that, as recalled by the Pope Bullock, the firm’s lead principal,
“Tom Smithgall and Mark Fitzgerald of the High Group [instructed] them how to meter the project. Cooper Carry would have provided advice if asked, but [Bullock] asserted they were not. He indicated that he felt that both Penn Square Partners and the Convention Center Authority were represented at the meeting but could not recall the names of others who might have been present. (Smithgall and Fitzgerald of High may have been authorized to speak for both entities….)”
To follow up on this story, a NewsLanc reporter sent Smithgall an e-mail with the following inquiry:
“Cooper Carry, architects for the Convention Center Project, have identified you as one of the representatives of the owners who instructed them not to provide separate utility metering. Furthermore, they indicated that you did not request their input on the matter and therefore they offered none.
1) Are you denying their assertion that you instructed Cooper Carry on behalf of the “owners” on how to meter the electric and gas for the project?
2) If you did so convey the instruction of the “owners”, what were your reasons for not arranging for either separate master meters for the hotel, convention center and possibly the common condominium areas, or sub-metering to separate the utilities costs of the hotel, the convention center, and possibly the common areas?”
Smithgall did not reply to the message. Last Thursday, NewsLanc sent Smithgall yet another message to again pose the same questions. He still has not responded with his answers.