New projects and new private developers along the lakefront

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's been two years since the Lake Charles City Council first voted to begin development along the lakefront.

First the city built a row of palm trees; then the development escalated into a new marina.

Now Downtown Development is looking at taking the next step to fill the south Lake Charles Civic Center parking lot with new buildings.

"Our intent here is to add destination quality," says Lori Marinovich, director of Downtown Development.

Marinovich says the city does not plan to do this alone, however.

"This will be our focus parcel to solicit interested developers to come in and actually build the buildings, select the tenants, and add essentially four new city blocks to the downtown area," says Marinovich.

Brian Arabie of Arabie Law Firm is making negotiations between the city and the developers.

"If you can take what's parking lot now and just imagine it with buildings and shops and restaurants and office space and people living here, it will really make this part of the city alive," says Arabie.

Another project in the works is the extension of Gill Street.

"That will add another east to west connection from Ryan Street to the lakefront," says Marinovich.

The new extension will sit right in front of where the new buildings are expected to stand.

"This will be the cultural center of where everyone wants to go on a weeknight, on a Friday night, or on a Saturday night," says Arabie.

The marina is expected to reach completion by May of 2010.

If the new projects become approved, Downtown Development hopes the new projects will go out for bid by spring of 2010.

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