Possible Lakefront hotel putting brakes on Amphitheater project for now

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's obvious what a Lakefront hotel connected to the Civic Center could do for Lake Charles. PKF, a hotel consulting firm out of Houston, recently did a market study that by all accounts is very favorable.

"They feel there is definitely a market for a new hotel at the Civic Center and they feel it could work very well with the existing program of activities we have at the Civic Center," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.

"I think this is going to be one of the first feasibility studies we are going to hear of any type of project on the Lakefront. I think it is going to give us a better idea of where we should be going with this," said Marshall Simien, LC City Council.

The final feasibility report won't be out until next week, but already questions have been raised how the city will be able to coordinate the multi-million dollar Bord du Lac Park Amphitheater project with the possibility of a new hotel.

"I would like to have that report in hand before we take any final action on the amphitheater project," said Mayor Roach.

The city has already allocated $7,000,000 to the amphitheater project and indicated they may need to use some of the bond money to help build a hotel. Mayor Roach said both are equally important for future development, but stressed limited funding will be something they'll have to deal with when moving forward.

"The amphitheater project and the hotel project are independent projects, but what ties them together is the amount of money the city has available to commit to both projects. So we don't want to go forward with either project independent of the other project until we make sure we have enough money to do what we need to do to make both projects a reality," explained Mayor Roach.

According to the preliminary report the market can support a hotel with 100 to 150 rooms. With two hotel developers in the wing waiting to build, Mayor Roach said they will have to see what the city will be obligated to do before making any commitments on either project.

"We are really waiting to hear what kind of additional facilities will be incorporated as part of the hotel. The footprint of the hotel and where that facility will be located. What type of infrastructure is going to be needed to accommodate that type of development," said Mayor Roach.

All of those questions are expected to be answered at Tuesday's City Council Agenda Meeting. A representative with the PKF firm is expected to be on hand to give more details.