Lake Charles' Landry wins bid to develop old Sears property

Of the three developers who expressed interest in 3.5 acres of property in the downtown district, the Lake Charles City Council on Wednesday chose Roger Landry, who had offered to buy the land for $1.06 million and build a mixed residential and business facility.

“We’ve been wanting to do this project for five years,” Landry said. “It is time. We convinced the City Council we could deliver.”

The land, in the 600 block of Ryan Street, has to be inspected for environmental problems before the purchase can be closed, Landry said. City officials used federal funds to clean the property before the former Sears structure was demolished in 2008.

Landry wants to build 170-plus residential units and provide 22,000 square feet of business space on the property. He estimates that the facility would cost $20 million to construct. “In about a year and a half we could start construction. It will take that long to get the engineering and architectural work done,” he said.

Landry intends to pay cash for the property. If that deal is unsuccessful, Baton Rouge developer Donnie Jarreau may get an opportunity to buy the land. City Council members intend to create a procedure allowing Jarreau access as a backup plan.

Jarreau initially offered $957,500 for the property. After the appraisal — $815,000 — was announced by the city, he changed the bid to $825,000. According to his real estate representative, Chris Khoury with Keller Williams, it was going to be a cash deal.

Geddings Development Corp., led by Lake Charles businessman Gray Stream, offered $735,000 for the property — below the appraised value. City officials were unable to sell the land for less than the appraised value.