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

By 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.