City discusses three proposals for old Sears retail site - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

City discusses three proposals for old Sears retail site

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Three developers wanting to purchase and develop the old Sears retail site in downtown Lake Charles made their pitch to the Lake Charles City Council Tuesday night. 

The three developers who made bids are:

Donnie Jarreau Real Estate

Roger Landry  

Gray Stream/Geddings Development Corporation

All three developers presented similar plans of a mixed-used development for the property including residential and retail space. 

Jarreau's offer on the property is $957,500. He is proposing a 188 unit apartment complex with 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. According to Jarreau more than 200 parking spaces would be hidden by the exterior of the building.

"With 188 units we assume they will be a majority of 1 to 2 bedrooms. We think it will be the young professional and we think we will pick up some of the students from McNeese," said Jarreau.

Jarreau estimates his development to be around $20,000,000. In terms of a timeline he said it would be somewhere between 9 to 12 months before construction would start with another 12 to 13 months to complete.

The second proposal comes from developer Roger Landry. Landry's proposal includes a four story apartment complex development with 166 units ranging from 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms. The bottom floor facing Ryan Street would offer 22,000 square feet of retail space. He would also offer nearly 300 parking spaces hidden by the exterior of the development that will also include offsite parking if needed. Other ammenities include a 24-hour concierge service, 4,000 square foot gym and private pool on the second floor.

Landry's timeline for the $19,000,000 development includes six months to get the funding in place and about a year to iron out all of the design details. He estimates another 12 months once construction actually starts. However, he said he already has several regional retailers interested including a large restaurant.

"The restaurant is willing to take up 8,000 to 10,000 feet of space so it's a very large restaurant group. I put on there it could be 7 to 10 spaces. Possibly a Starbucks... I also have a bank that is interested - they may just want to put an ATM there," said Landry.

While Jarreau and Landry said they will use FHA financing, the third developer, Gray Stream, said he has the cash to purchase the property for between $400,000 to $500,000.

"We can close on the site immediately as soon as conditions are met. We will fund the project with cash and conventional financing," said Stream.

Unlike the other two developers Stream did not have any artist renderings, but said his idea is for a town home community with a retail component that would likely include a restaurant and possibly office space.

"Of course the town home style opportunity would cut down on the number of units but it would expand the footage size per unit," said Stream.

A committee has been formed to review the proposals in detail and make a recommendation to the council on how to proceed.

"I liked what I saw. I think more residents will only help bring more businesses downtown and help the current businesses," said Councilman Rodney Geyen.

"I'm encouraged by what we saw tonight. This is in line of what we expected. All three plans have their drawbacks. They each had their strong points. Everything from a cash sale to no questions asked here's the money to we need to ask our lenders. So we have to take all of those things into consideration when we make our decision," said Council President Mark Eckard.

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