Preserving the past: Ryan Street historic district could become reality

Published 4:11 am Thursday, June 13, 2024

New construction along Ryan Street is one of the signs that Southwest Louisiana is building back stronger. But refurbishing and developing certain old, historic commercial buildings could allow investors the opportunities for a series of tax incentives. The old and the new – both are part of Southwest Louisiana’s comeback story.   

Drive north from the 4000 block of Ryan Street to the 3500 block. A huge family adventure center is being completed in what was the K-mart building, a new eatery is announced with a sign on an open lot, a new car wash is being constructed across the street from an existing car wash and every dog will soon have its day at the new pet care business.

Farther north on Ryan Street in the Downtown Lake Charles area, a different story is unfolding: new tax incentive opportunities for private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings.

Email newsletter signup

“I am thrilled to see the effort being made to create a Ryan Street Historic District,” said Mayor Nic Hunter. “While we cannot erase mistakes made decades ago, we should do all we can today to preserve historic buildings and architecture. The Green Coast Enterprises Project at 710 Ryan St. will be a major win for Downtown Lake Charles and good for the city as a whole. I thank Green Coast Enterprises for their investment in the city and look forward to seeing their project come to life.”

The New Orleans-based company, has finally closed its deal on the purchase of the Zephyr’s building located at 710 Ryan St. In the process, the company did the leg work that could result in 16 downtown Ryan Street properties, one Broad Street property and one Bilbo Street property becoming listed on the National Registry. A meeting is scheduled in July with the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation to finalize details.

It’s not just a historic occasion, and an assurance that some of the area’s greatest architecture will be around for future generations to appreciate. Owners of those properties could be eligible for a 20 percent federal tax credit, and can combine it with the state’s 20 percent tax incentive program and cultural district economic opportunities.

Property owners received letters last week that contained information about the requirements to have their properties listed. The American Press Building, owned by Downtown Properties, is one of the buildings on the list, but no further information was provided by that office upon request.