City makes deal on old Sears retail site - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

City makes deal on old Sears retail site

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The City of Lake Charles makes a big decision in moving forward with the old Sears retail site.

The Lake Charles City Council narrowed the field of three developers down to one, awarding the bid to developer Roger Landry.

The decision came after a month of careful consideration and the latest round of amended bids after the City of Lake Charles appraised the downtown property at $815,000. Last week, developers resubmitted the following bids:

Gray Stream:
Original bid: $400,000 cash
New bid: $735,000 cash
(Stream was eliminated because the City can't accept lower than the appraised price for the property)

Donnie Jarreau Real Estate:
Original bid: $957,500
New bid: $825,000 cash
*Also took out financing contingency of HUD funding
*Also condition they could back out of the deal for any reason during the 150 due diligence process

Roger Landry:
Original bid: $625,000
New bid: $1,065,000 cash

All three developments were similar in design, combining residential and commercial space, but it was Landry who had the winning combination.

"We are extremely excited to be awarded the bid. This project really started 10 years ago when we started Muller's. I mean, this is just the next step to build across the street," said Landry.

Under the deal, Landry wants the property to undergo environmental tests, but said he's not worried.  

"The city had the property cleared and cleaned after the hurricanes. I just want to have the tests done under the due diligence process to make sure everything that was needed has been done. That should not take us too long. I told the city it would take us about 60 days to get those tests ran, see what we have and we can move forward," explained Landry.

Moving forward would mean a $20 million dollar downtown luxury apartment complex that would include 22,000-square-feet of retail on the bottom floor. Landry said there is also talk of increasing the amount of units from 166 to 182.

"To build this project is very tight to build this project on a 3.67-acre site. So, to get as much density in there as we can is kind of the idea without sacrificing the design and the size of the units," Landry said.

Landry's proposal also includes a swimming pool on the second floor, 24-hour concierge service, and 4,000-square-foot gym.

The City Council also thanked the other developers for their interest and asked them to please consider other properties for their projects.

"Though we did not win the proposal for the Sears site, Mr. Jarreau is still very interested in working in this market. We feel there is a high demand. There is a lot of great things coming and this will have a great economic impact on the market," said Chris Khoury, representing Jarreau.

City officials said they will have a buy/sell agreement in place with Landry within 24 hours. Meanwhile, in terms of a timeline, Landry expects it to take at least a year for the design phase and another year for construction.

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