Port of Lake Charles may play a role in lakefront development

Port of LC still interested in Lakefront development

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Lake Charles Port members decided to not take action on any items related to a possible cooperative endeavor with City of Lake Charles to develop lakefront property.

"The property City is currently looking at another developer's proposal and we didn't want to interfere with any decision that the City has to make there. But we are still very interested in developing along the lakefront," said Bill Rase, Lake Charles Port Director. "We have had some informal negotiations with them and talked about several issues that might develop and might not develop. So I think it's just time to leave it at that and let the City finish its due diligence with the other group and if there's any interest in talking with us we'll be available."

Company Mardi Gras Boardwalk has proposed purchasing the old Harrah's property for $4,250,000. They are proposing a mixed-use development with entertainment, restaurant and shopping venues along with condos.

While the Port expressed interest in developing a Kemah, Texas style boardwalk on the property, Rase said their main goal is to help facilitate in the development of the National Hurricane Museum and Science Center (NHMSC).

Gray Stream, NHMSC board chairman, welcomed the partnership.

"I'm really appreciative that an economic leader in the region, if not the economic leader in the region, has once again stepped up in a new way with its support to Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana and basically acknowledged that there's an important impression that we make on the region and rest of the country with our lakefront," said Stream.

If they were to enter into a contract with the City of Lake Charles, the Port has pledged $250,000 to conduct a market study to determine the best fit for the lakefront.  Rase said regardless of what happens with the old Harrah's property the Port is ready to assist in any way they can.

"The opportunity I think has been a long time coming with the citizens of Southwest Louisiana. And the opportunity still exists to develop that property. With or without the Mardi Gras Boardwalk situation there's property out there that could be developed. Of course anything you put there first impacts what comes behind it so we will just have to see how we feel once we see what the City decides to do with that development," said Rase.

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