City & Pinnacle moving forward with old Harrah's Property - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

City & Pinnacle moving forward with old Harrah's Property

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's prime Lakefront real estate - that last month Pinnacle announced it was ready to donate back to the City of Lake Charles.

"As you know we've been talking for quiet some time now about what to do with the old Harrah's hotel," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.

At Wednesday's regular City Council meeting, Mayor Roach requested a special item be placed on the agenda to allow the City to enter into an agreement with Pinnacle. In order for the item to be placed on the agenda it needs a unanimous vote to move forward.

"This will allow us to enter into an agreement with Pinnacle and for us to take some time to determine whether or not we can find a suitable buyer for the property and if we can't then we would consider the question of demolition and Pinnacle would handle the cost of demolition," explained Mayor Roach.  

The four acre property includes a hotel and parking garage - that with some work could be put back into commerce. 

"A lot of people have expressed to me that driving towards the east on Interstate 10 they would like to see a nice business that would act as a catalyst for other businesses to come along that stretch of beach front," said Councilman Rodney Geyen.

If the property is sold the money would be used for downtown development, but if torn down the raw property would be put into the existing inventory for lakefront development.

While all of the details are still being worked out, a final agreement would include a restriction on any future gaming on the property and the rights to a small portion of land for exclusive advertising by Pinnacle.

The City is hoping to find a buyer. According to Mayor Roach there are several parties interested in the property, but he says a lot of consideration will go into finding the right partner.

"While money is important, it's also important that we know what they want to do and make sure whatever offer we get - is an offer for a business plan that makes sense," said Mayor Roach.  

"I'm glad the property is coming to us because the ultimate plans is that is where the center part of that harbor is going to be. So I like the fact that we have an opportunity to see how it is going to develop because that is going to be consistent with the overall development that's going on out there," said Councilman Marshall Simien, Jr.  

The item was unanimously placed on the agenda and will now be taken up for final action at the next regular meeting on July 7th. If the council decides to move forward, Mayor Roach says it will likely take four to six weeks before the terms of a final agreement could be drafted.

Copyright 2009 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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