LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Company Mardi Gras Boardwalk makes an official offer on the old Harrah's property on the lakefront. Mardi Gras offered the City of Lake Charles $4,250,000 for the property and $165,000 for the parking garage with intentions of spending an additional $1,500,000 to renovate and bring the garage up to standards.
"I'm excited to look at the proposal in detail. I think it's about time. We've been talking with them for two years. If we had done this two years ago we would have already had a development. But I think it's a great start," said Dana Jackson, Lake Charles City Council.
"Just from first glance I think it's a great project that will put that piece of property back into commerce and drive more people to the lakefront," said Stuart Weatherford, Lake Charles City Council.
"I think the price was fair and the fact that they are offering $165,000 for the parking garage and are putting up the money to repair it and put it back into use is essential for any project to work on the lakefront," said John Cardone, Lake Charles City Administrator.
Included in Mardi Gras business and development plan are as follows:
- A Theme Entertainment Festival Plaza (with capacity to seat 7,500)
- Family Entertainment Center
- Hotel Condos
- Sports Bar & Grill area which will likely include several restaurants
- And Boardwalk on the front of the lakefront property.
"I will be carefully looking at this proposal with a fine-tooth comb because I want to know how it will be financed and where is the money coming from," said Marshall Simien, Lake Charles City Council.
The bid and proposal were the only one that came in Tuesday, May 29th - the deadline set by the City of Lake Charles. However, the City did receive a letter from the Port of Lake Charles expressing interest in a joint venture with the City for a "Kemah, Texas" type development on the property.
With the proposed National Hurricane Museum locating near this property, the Port suggested hiring the architects that have developed the plans for the Museum to ensure that such a development is implemented in a way that enhances the museum, and vice versa.
As part of the plan the Port would contribute plans to infrastructure development (bulkheading of the land, utilities, docks, and piers, etc.), which ultimately would be leased out for "over the water" restaurants, retail businesses, or other commercial establishments with the tenants completing as needed individual building improvements in conformance with approved plans and specifications developed by the City/Port architects.
While they stopped short of an official offer - in the letter the Port said: Certainly it is not the Port's intention for this letter to qualify as a response to the City's recent requests for proposals to purchase and develop the property. However, the Port believes this is an easily implemented plan which provides a significant long-term upside for the Port, City, and the area citizens.
While the City has yet to rule anything out, Council Members said they were looking for solid proposals.
"I think the Port is behind. We sunsetted the property and were asking for bids and plans," said Jackson.
"It's important to keep the lines of communication with the Port of Lake Charles because we have a lot of other property along the lakefront and would be interested in talking with them about other possibilities," said Weatherford.
Council members will now look over the proposal in detail and the public will also have a chance to weigh in before the Council makes a final decision at their regular meeting on Wednesday, June 20th.