LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They are ready to get to work on developing the old Harrah's property, but when it comes to closing the deal on the $4,415,000 property sale - Mardi Gras Boardwalk wants 15-months to get things in order.
"Would you guys be willing to pay the purchase price right off the bat? Buy the property then go out there and sell your project," asked Marshall Simien, Lake Charles City Council.
"We cannot close until financing is in place, a building permit is issued and we are mandated to start construction within 60 days," explained Charles Landry, representing Mardi Gras Boardwalk.
The mixed-use proposal is estimated to cost $46,000,000. In the 15 months Mardi Gras would like to get at least 60% of the retail, hotel and condo units committed by a purchase agreement.
"When you mention retailers. Do you have retailers lined up," asked Luvertha August, Lake Charles City Council.
While they have had informal discussions Landry explained no firm agreements have been made.
"We think it's important that you know that there's a market for this before we close," said Landry.
The group also wants a one cent sales tax from on-property sales to go towards maintaining and promoting the festival park and 7,500 seat amphitheater. All things considered the council unanimously gave them the green light.
"With this decision we can now get to work and formally open up some channels of communication to folks we've been talking to for the last couple of years - people who are in the restaurant and entertainment business. We haven't really been able to say anything in detail because we have had no agreement of any kind," said Lamar Berry, Mardi Gras Boardwalk.
With the clock now ticking Mardi Gras has eight months to get their construction and conceptual plans in hand to the City Council. If they fail they must pay $50,000 to extend the deadline.
Berry is confident they will be able to meet all of the demands and deadlines including the financing to get the project underway.
"It's going to be a reality. I don't think the City Council would have voted unanimously if they didn't feel a strong spirit of viability within the RFP that we have been working on with the for two years," said Berry.