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Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach. (American Press Archives)

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach. (American Press Archives)

Roach not ready to watch lakefront hotel project die

Last Modified: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 10:20 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Mayor Randy Roach said his administration hasn’t given up on seeing the construction of a hotel on the grounds of the Civic Center.

Last month, voters said no to a deal that would have allowed the administration to invest $3 million toward a multimillion-dollar hotel project that was going to be completed by New Orleans-based HRI.

The measure failed 2,770 votes to 2,413.

If the proposition had passed, City Hall would have activated a tax increment financing, or TIF, district around the Civic Center, using collected tax dollars to finance improvements for the hotel and other projects.

Roach admits that the vote may have been rushed because all the specifics of the deal were not answered. He is targeting the spring of 2014 as the earliest date he would try to get the proposition back on a ballot.

“That gives us nine to 10 months,” Roach said. “If we do have an election, we will have a development agreement, site plan, and answers to parking issues and other aspects of the project. We have to deal with utilization and parking issues before we go forward.”

In January, the administration contemplated not calling for an election due to concerns about not having enough time to communicate all of the details of the HRI project to the public. Roach said HRI was “disappointed” about the proposition failing.

“I think they are very interested in doing a hotel here. But this does change the dynamics of the project,” Roach said. “Two months from now things could change.”

If another investor offered a hotel project — with the appropriate financing — Roach said the city would be interested.

“We would go to HRI and tell them about it. In an effort to honor our commitment we’d give them an opportunity to proceed with their project,” Roach said.

He said he is concentrating on the roadblocks that need to be addressed with the hotel project, no matter the investor.

He wants to involve the community in deciding what type of hotel project should be voted on.

“We are going to take the objections raised in the last election and have development proposals, alternatives and site plans,” he said.

He is intent on “not rushing” a public vote again.

Posted By: Randy On: 5/9/2013

Title: No Go

Please give up this idea. Giving out precious property on Civic Center grounds is a horrible miscalculation. Build a new Civic Center instead.

Posted By: Dwight On: 5/9/2013

Title: Keep asking until we say yes??

That's a problem. The City and Parish keep putting the same items on the ballot until the voter say yes. But with most of these propositions they never end. So, we can change our mind from no to yes but after we say yes if things don't work out we cannot say no.
In this case the problem is not lack of hotel space, the Civic Center is too small. We need to find a way to increase the size of the venue so that hotel developers want to build here.

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