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Mardi Gras Boardwalk contract to go to City Council for vote in February

Last Modified: Thursday, January 03, 2013 7:41 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Efforts to finalize the legal details on a cooperative endeavor and purchase agreement between Lake Charles and Mardi Gras Boardwalk are unofficially over.

On Wednesday, officials from both sides participated in a three-hour meeting and walked away from the table with what is expected to be the final-draft document that outlines the project.

Mardi Gras Boardwalk attorneys are going to make some minor changes to the paperwork that will be given to the City Council for review and final approval.

Company spokesman Gary Dickson said he is under the impression that the council will vote on the matter in late February.

“I feel confident this will get done,” Dickson told the American Press. “This is a serious project for us and the city, and we wanted to make sure the T’s were crossed and the I’s dotted. All of this has been worth waiting for.”

Last summer, the City Council voted to sell nine acres of land along the east side of Lake Charles to the development company at a price of $4.4 million.

The company wants to build a $46 million entertainment complex that would include a festival park and amphitheater; condo/hotel standing five stories with 100 rooms; a 35,000-square-foot sports bar and grill; and a 25,000-square-foot family entertainment center.

Plans also include the construction of six restaurants, three music venues, four limited-service businesses (gift shops), three quick-service businesses (novelties) and kiosks.

Dickson said the company has spoken to businesses interested in being involved in the project.

“We’ve never had anyone say the project was not a good idea,” he said.

What has been keeping the development firm from closing deals with those companies is an inability to show potential investors documentation that the deal is ready to move forward.

City Administrator John Cardone participated in the meeting. He walked away feeling like the final hold-ups have been overcome.

“Over the last six months, our respective attorneys have been going through the agreement,” he said. “The city wants to make sure a viable development plan is eventually submitted, and these agreements outline the guidelines.”

One aspect of the proposed contract is the stipulation that Mardi Gras Boardwalk provide performance and completion bonds.

City Councilman Dana Jackson is pleased with the progress too.

“Every question and every detail has now been addressed. I think we have come to a workable deal,” he said.

City Councilman Stuart Weatherford said all the work will pay off for the city.

“The last thing anyone wants to see is the property bought and remain empty,” he said.

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