City closer to developing old Harrah's property - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

City closer to developing old Harrah's property

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's prime Lakefront real estate that sat vacant for years, but within the last month the old Harrah's Hotel has come down. Crews are now clearing the last of the demolition for future development. While the transformation is easy to see on the outside, the progress with future developers isn't as obvious.

"It's such a lengthy process to take some property from the city. It's hard. It's not like buying it from the neighbor next door. We've got to do a lot of different things," said Dana Carl Jackson, Lake Charles City Council.

The property was donated to the city by Pinnacle. In order to sale the property, Councilman Jackson explained it must be appraised and advertised three times within a 15 day period. Before any deal can go down it must also be declared surplus property.

Company Mardi Gras Boardwalk is already waiting in the wing to submit their formal plan for a mixed use development of retail, residential and commercial space.

"At this point Mardi Gras Boardwalk is probably the only one I know of that has presented a real plan that I think would make an impact and it looks like they would be our front-runner," said Jackson.

The talks of the multi-million dollar development between Mardi Gras Boardwalk and the City of Lake Charles have been ongoing for more than two years. Councilman Stuart Weatherford supports the project and what it could do for the area.

"The hope is you put that piece of property back into commerce and it generates economic activity. It generates jobs and it will generate taxes," said Weatherford. "And if it's successful it will give our young people - young and old I say - another thing to enjoy. If it develops what we think can develop there I think it would be a great project for the city."

Once the track of land is appraised and goes through the roughly 30-day process of being declared surplus -- other developers can also submit formal plans to the city council to develop the property. 

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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