Developers submit plans for city-owned lakefront property

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - First came the palm trees, then the marina. Up until now we've seen relatively small changes develop along the lakefront - a facelift to attract developers.

"I'm happy to announce that as we open the process we had three people waiting on the other side, three proposals waiting on the other side for development of the land," said Downtown Development Authority President Adley Cormier.

City-owned land just south of the Civic Center. The land would be home to mixed use and commercial development.

"It is our plan that once we have a solid proposal for a particular parcel of land we will sunset a request for proposal on that particular parcel of land for 30 days to allow other developers who may have had their eye on that property to develop their plans and provide them to the DDA for review," explained Cormier.

Due to confidentiality agreements, Cormier is only at liberty to say the three developers have strong Louisiana ties. The DDA will begin examining their track records, proposed business plans and how they propose to finance their projects.

"Would they anticipate their labor needs to be if they are going to use local labor, local contractors or are they going to bring in their own outfits," inquired Councilman Marshall Simien, Jr.

"That can be a factor. Legislatively I don't know how we can tie them to that, but we can definitely encourage local sources for materials and local sources for labor would be much appreciated," said Cormier.

"That's good news to us. We have been long-waiting some good news of this nature, where a development will at least look like it's going to take place... So that is good news," said Councilman Rodney Geyen.

Mayor Randy Roach is also encouraged by the interest in the land and expects more proposals before it's all said and done, but says financially one developer won't be able to take on the entire property.

"It's like a puzzle at the end of the day after all the developers come in and take their different piece and put their project together we will have a comprehensive development," said Mayor Roach.

Patiently the Lake Area waits, as the lakefront puzzle comes together piece by piece. Expect real development some time late this year to early next year.

"It's a very exciting process to see it happen. And it's going to make sort of a world class destination as far as I'm concerned," said Cormier.

Cormier says we should have a better idea of how things look come spring. Once the DDA selects a developer for a parcel of land they'll submit their choice to the council for final approval. Also coming up this spring, the Ryan Street Streetscape and the Millennium Park Project will go out for bid no later than May.

Copyright 2009 KPLC. All rights reserved.