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Bayfront Convention Center

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The Bayfront Convention Center is one of four venues operated by the Erie County Convention Center Authority. The 100,000 square foot facility opened in 2007 and received a Build America award from the Associated General Contractors of America in 2008. Next to the convention center is the Courtyard Marriott that opened in June 2016.
Both the Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel and Bayfront Convention Center are located within the 12.3-acre site of the proposed Bayfront Place development project. The site is known locally as the “old GAF site” as it housed roofing suppliers for over 120 years before the industrial complex was removed in 2010. This manufacturing tradition can be traced to the H.F. Watson Company, manufacturer of building, roofing, and lining papers and materials, as well as steam pipe and boiler packaging and coverings that began in 1885. Its main buildings were located along East 16th Street between French and Holland Streets where over 400 men were employed. New York, Chicago, and Nashville all had branch offices and distributing depots for the company. In 1894, Mr. Watson organized the Erie Dock and Transfer Company. One of the purposes of the new shipping company was to transport Watson Company products throughout the Great Lakes and beyond via barges, and the bayfront plant provided easy access to product. Ruberoid Building Company purchased the waterfront complex in 1928 and sold it to GAF Materials Corporation in 1967. GAF halted its production of roofing shingles at the site in favor of a modernized facility in central Pennsylvania in 2007 and ended an era of industry along the west bayfront.
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