Tuesday is the deadline for developers and investors to present proposals to the Lake Charles City Council for developing a strip of lakefront real estate. The property, seen in this pre-Hurricane Rita photo, was donated to the City of Lake Charles by Pinnacle Entertainment. (American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, May 31, 2012 2:21 PM
An official proposal from Lake Charles Mardi Gras Boardwalk and a proposition from the Port of Lake Charles are the latest facets of the ongoing lakefront development saga.
The City Council was given a 122-page proposal from the private development group during its Tuesday agenda meeting. According to the proposal, a $46 million entertainment facility would be built on nine acres Pinnacle Entertainment donated to the city in 2011.
By Tuesday’s deadline, Mardi Gras Boardwalk provided the only bid for the property. The company’s plan includes retail shells, a hotel, a sports bar and grill, family entertainment center, a festival park and an amphitheater.
Mardi Gras Boardwalk is offering $4.2 million for the land and $165,000 for the abandoned parking garage on it.
“We offer to make the premium over the fair market value ($3,270,000),” the proposal reads. “We offer to make the cost of buying and fixing the garage problem $1,665,000 total; a purchase price for the garage of $165,000 plus the $1.5 million cost to retrofit.”
Also on Tuesday, the port expressed interest, in a letter provided to Mayor Randy Roach and the City Council, in collaborating with the city to develop “this property along the lines of a small Kemah, Texas-type development.”
Port officials point toward San Diego’s Seaport Village and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor projects as examples of port authorities working with civic government to spur economic development.
“The port would envision a cooperative agreement with the city allowing for plans of this type of development to be jointly developed. With the proposed National Hurricane Museum locating near this property, the port would suggest hiring the architects that have developed the plans for the museum to ensure that such a development is implemented in a way that enhances the museum and vice versa,” the port letter reads.
Port officials are interested in financing infrastructure and would want the project to include restaurants, retail businesses and other commercial enterprises that would be located over the water.
“Tenants would be secured through a nationally solicited request for proposal process based on the ultimate development plan designed by the architects and agreed upon by the city and port,” the letter reads.
Roach’s administration urged the council to form a committee to discuss the idea with port officials. That committee will consist of Luvertha August, Mark Eckard and John Ieyoub.
“I’m thinking of other property that we have. They could be interested in something else,” August said.
City Councilman Dana Jackson questions the timing of the port’s letter, since the deadline for proposals for the property was announced weeks ago. “Everything was supposed to end today,” he said.
The port’s letter specifies its intent was to address “City Lakefront Property donated by Pinnacle-Possible Joint Development by City/Port.”
Jackson asked that a vote on the Mardi Gras Boardwalk proposal be held June 20.
All City Council members were provided a copy of the company’s bid and did not have any direct statements about the proposal.
City Councilman Stuart Weatherford said Mardi Gras Boardwalk met the minimum requirements.
“I know they want to bring in entertainment, restaurants and other amenities. This could enhance the lakefront,” he said.
Posted By: J. MAC On: 5/30/2012
Title: Take the "Sure Deal"
At this point in the political chess game that's being going on for some time, there should be no guessing as to what actions should be taken regarding the sell--and development of the lake front property; take the "Sure Deal"!
It's obvious that the City is now dealing with a reputable group who is willing to purchase the property above fair market value and hence begin the process of developing something that will generate new business for the Lake Area, and likewise significantly enhance the Lakefront. The Port is simply "a day late, and a dollar short". They'll do nothing more than prolong anything being developed given their proposal to, or what appears as, do more "studies".
And Mayor, can your adminstration make any decision(s) without forming a committe? Typical government style beauracracy at its best.
Fact is, you have an organization with money (that's cash by the way). Not someone (like the Port) wanting to finance all or part of the money. And besides, what expertise does anyone at the Port of Lake Charles bring to the table besides being familiar with other projects around the country? And by the way, the San Diego’s Seaport Village is successful because of its affiliation with the U.S. Navy, given a large number of carriers are based there; rather than "cooperative" agreement(s).
And one last thing, it's obvious by the language in the Port's letter that their intent to include the design of the proposed Hurricane Museum in with their proposed development is simply another political ploy to detract from common sense. And by the way, who will actually make money if there is a Port deal?
Do the citizens of the Lake Area a favor and stop stalling!