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Geddings wants to create mixed-use building with multi-generational impact

Last Modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 1:41 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

A sense of surprise overtook several bystanders at Tuesday’s Lake Charles City Council agenda meeting when it was announced that Geddings Development Corp. had made a bid to buy the former Sears property.

The company’s owners developed Graywood and Gray Plantation and have business interests throughout the region. But they’ve never openly expressed a desire to get involved in downtown Lake Charles, where the land is located.

Company spokesman Gray Stream spoke briefly to the council about wanting to construct a multi-use residential development on the land.

Unlike his competitors, Roger Landry and Donnie Jarreau, Stream did not have artist renderings of what the development — which would be built in the 600 block of Ryan Street — would look like.

Instead, he talked about Geddings Development’s interest in building a “first-class and high-quality” structure that would fit the type of projects the company has already completed in and outside of the United States.

Stream on Friday spoke with the American Press about the vision Geddings Development has for downtown.

He said the company has resources and access to additional development tools that would be used to construct a new “legacy” structure in the downtown district. Stream is interested in building a structure that leaves an impression on future generations.

“I am motivated to honor the multi-generational impact my family has had on earlier generations and their investments in the area. It is my generation’s turn to make good things happen. I care about downtown Lake Charles, and the opportunity exists with that property to do something special,” he said.

Stream also serves as president of Graywood LLC, which developed the Graywood community and Gray Plantation golf club in southern Lake Charles.

Geddings Development is part of Stream Companies, which are involved in real estate development, wetland services, forestry, oil and gas, ranching and property management.

Among Stream Companies’ other noteworthy developments are Mahekal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Geddings Development’s cover letter — which was part of its $425,000 bid for the Ryan Street property — described a general concept for building.

“We envision a built to last project that will move the downtown well beyond the tipping point needed to guarantee its sustained vibrancy. As currently conceived, this mixed-use development will primarily contain high-quality for rent residential space. We estimated that the property can sustain 120-160 one, two, and three-bedroom units, which would establish a significant resident base to support downtown merchants,” the letter reads.

Stream said the package could include space for retail, restaurants and possibly offices. On-site parking would be provided.

To pay for the project, conventional financing would be used.

If the company is able to buy the land, Stream said designers and architects would investigate different aspects of building a structure based on traditional construction cost factors.

“The market determines the product to a degree, but we do want to do something impressive. We know what construction costs are. We know what rents are. You take those numbers and then make a decision on what a project will be. That is what a developer does,” he said.

Stream stresses that capital investments being made in the Lake Charles area make it viable for a developer to invest in additional housing.

“And we want to make that investment into downtown Lake Charles,” he said. “There is high occupancy in the local apartment market. Pressure on the market says we can do this. We want to do something special.”

In November, the City Council is expected to decide on which developer will get the chance to buy the land and build.

Posted By: David On: 10/13/2012

Title: This would be great

I don't know what the competitors' plans are, but this sounds great...especially if they follow the current trend of New Orleans style architecture, etc. This could be the start of much new and replacement development in the area...

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