Lakefront Hotel market study revealed in detail

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - An upscale hotel on the Lake Charles Lakefront - of all the proposals it's the first that a market feasibility study supports.

"It's kind of a missing piece in my mind for the Downtown Master Plan," said Randy McCaslin, Vice President PKF Hotel Consulting.

McCaslin explained to the Lake Charles City Council the numbers are very favorable for an $18,000,000 hotel to be developed near the Civic Center. McCaslin described the hotel as a "select service" with 150 rooms. A 6,500 square feet of additional meeting space, including a 6,000 square foot ballroom that could be divided into separate meeting areas and a 500 square foot board room. The hotel would also include standard features such as:

Three Meal Restaurant
Lobby Lounge
Room Service
Swimming Pool
Business Center
Fitness Center
High Speed Internet
Area Shuttle

"There are two brands that have been identified are Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard by Marriot," said McCaslin.

PKF's market study gathered information from the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau, SWLA Economic Develop Alliance, Lake Charles Civic Center, Lakefront/Downtown Development, Area Business Representatives, Area Hotels and Casinos.

In terms of economic impact the market study projects the following over the next 10 years:

Economic Impact
Total Economic Impact From Construction (rounded): $30,725,000
Total Economic Impact From Operations (rounded): $19,600,000

Employment Impact:
Total Jobs From Construction: 180 Jobs
Total Jobs From Hotel Operation: 70 Jobs

Fiscal Impact:
Potential Hotel Occupancy Tax Revenues (rounded): $2,200,000
Potential Sales Tax Revenues (rounded): $1,130,000
Potential Property Tax Revenues (rounded): $515,000

More importantly McCaslin explained a hotel on the Lakefront could be a catalyst for the type of development Lake Charles has been looking for.

"You build a hotel and all of a sudden a restaurant says they are building a hotel over there... I want to have a restaurant next door. Restaurant comes in someone says - wow, that would be a nice place to put some residential units. With residential comes retail," said McCaslin.

Validating what they already knew, the council is encouraged by the market study which suggests the hotel open in January 2014. They've already took the next step unanimously putting an request for proposals (RFP) for potential developers.

"I think it's a great start it shows we need a hotel there. 150 rooms I think the council would appreciate that. We didn't want a 100 room hotel. 150 would be in line to have something to go to a conference at the Civic Center," said Dana Carl Jackson, LC City Council.

"Two things we have are the Civic Center, which PKF thought was a small building until they came out and saw and thought it was magnificent. The other is the lakefront. The combination of the two is going to make for a nice area for a hotel," said Marshall Simien, LC City Council.

"I'm very pleased! It's going to encourage other businesses, more traffic, more tourists. I mean the economic impact is going to be great - so what else could we ask for," said Luvertha August, LC City Council.

"Basically it was a green light to developers - saying hey look this viable. This is going to work in Lake Charles and is going to be a perfect compliment to all other development that is going to happen around the Lakefront," said John Ieyoub, LC City Council President.

The City is in talks with three hotel developers: InterMountain Management, LLC out of Monroe, Louisiana and HRI Properties out of New Orleans. A third developer, the Hyatt Corporation, has recently show interest and took a tour of the property on Tuesday.

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