Downtown Richar Building

It has shot up in just a matter of weeks - the new building under construction across the street from the Calcasieu District Court House is underway and turning heads. KPLC's Lee Peck talks to the man who is leading by example when it comes to downtown development.

Since breaking ground... This corner of ryan street has taken on new life: [take sot duration:0:08] {***sot full***} (rick richard:

"As the building goes up I not only get really excited about it but you see some curves and some movement that are not on the flat paper. It's really exciting," said Rick Richard.

Richard has been looking at the buidling plans for three years now after running a Fortune 500 hundred company...the lake charles native returned some five years ago... A member of the downtown development authority.... He's now putting his money where his mouth is: [take sot duration:0:06] {***sot full***} (rick richard:"we don't have any tenants locked in now. I did it based on my belief that if you build it in downtown people will come.") at a total cost of 2.5 million dollars... The building sits in the heart of historical downtown... Richard sees it becoming home to several offices and perhaps a restaurant. [take sot duration:0:13] {***sot full***} (rick richard:"we really wanted to make it fit in and look like it had always belonged here. We originally thought of a third story and my wife donna convinced me it wouldn't fit real well with three stories so we brought it down to two and it's working out just as she expected.") the project is the first to be built under the city's new smart code... And comes with one of the best views: [take sot duration:0:11] {***sot full***} (rick richard:"it's at least a three mile view. The only one in downtown here because we've done the new smart code that allows us to go right up to the corner of the sidewalk so we are the first one with that view.") [take sot duration:0:07] {***sot full***} (rick richard:"the balconies are going to be fantastic to be on especially for mardi gras parades and such like that. This will be the place to be during a parade.") from where he stands... Richard sees a promising future for lake charles... And isn't stopping here. [take sot duration:0:09] {***sot full***} (rick richard:"my next goal is to see if we can build a boutique hotel downtown as well a long the lines of pedestrian friendly dining and entertainment area.") he hopes making this dream come true, will lead to the dream of a better down town becoming a reality. [take sot duration:0:07] {***sot full***} (rick richard:"shows people - yes - we can build downtown and it's an attractive place to be... I see it as a good start.") richard says he's considering naming the development: "the phoenix building" to represent the rising from the ashes from the 19-10 fire that destroyed much of downtown lake charles 100 years ago. The project is expected to be complete by the first quarter of next year.