Company very interested in old Harrah's property

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Just when we thought the old Harrah's hotel was coming down a company has expressed interest in purchasing the property and opening a seafood restaurant chain. In a letter to Mayor Randy Roach - Windstar Hospitality Group, a division of Windstar Energy Group, has said they are very interested in pursuing the possible acquisition and extensive renovation of the hotel and parking garage.

"The company had already scheduled an inspection of the property before we took action on to tear it down," explained Mayor Roach. "So we've agreed to meet with them next week. They will come before the council and present their master plan. They've been told they need to have a solid plan and be prepared to make a serious offer."

According to the letter, Windstar is also considering the construction, on the site, of a high quality seafood restaurant which would extend over the lake.

"They have access to a franchise for a restaurant and I don't want to mention the name of it because I know how those things go but it would be a nice restaurant along the lakefront," said Mayor Roach.

The City Council agreed to entertain the presentation from company at next week's August 3rd regular meeting. Windstar Hospitality Group is also aware of the strict timeline the city is under with Pinnacle, who has agreed to tear down the old hotel at their expense if the city can't sell the property in six months. The deadline with Pinnacle is August 15th.

"We've got our six month window with Pinnacle. We have to act in six months and we can't do anything independent of that without getting Pinnacle's approval. If there is any proposed extension we of course would have to get Pinnacle involved," explained Mayor Roach.

"I'm glad there is interest, but we will be looking for a solid presentation from Windstar. Once we see what their plan we can decide. But we are looking for a firm commitment," said Rodney Geyen, Lake Charles City Councilman.

There were concerns raised about selling the property. Some on the council would like to maintain the title to the property and enter into a longterm lease if a deal can be worked out. This is the first time the City of Lake Charles has actually owned that portion of the lakefront.

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