City of Lake Charles: A look back on 2012

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was a long time coming, but just after the first of the year, the old Harrah's Hotel came tumbling down.

Demolition would prove easier than making a sale as talks still continue with company, Mardi Gras Boardwalk, to purchase the lakefront property for $4,400,000.

"It's a little harder than your typical real estate transition and that's why it's taken a little longer than normal but basically it's been a back and forth process," explained Stuart Weatherford, Lake Charles City Council.

The process is now in the final stages. However, don't expect to see any shops or restaurants pop up in 2013. According to city officials, it will likely take 18 months before we see any real construction.

Meanwhile, plans to turn the Lake Charles Civic Center into a convention destination are still in the works. KPLC is told a deal to bring a new luxury hotel is being looked over.

"A hotel is an expensive proposition. We are still looking at different terms of a lease as they relate to financing and the overall project," Mayor Randy Roach said.

Also, still available for development is the property south of the Civic Center. After failed negotiations, the city divided the land into five smaller parcels with hopes of attracting smaller projects. So far no takers.

Downtown Ryan Street received a major facelift. After nearly a year and a half of construction, the Streetscape project and new Transit Center hope to jump start new development.

The old Sears retail site at the corner of Division and Ryan Streets is under contract. Developer Roger Landry beat out two other developers with his $20 million dollar proposal to build apartments with mixed retail.

"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," Landry said.

Landry said much of 2013 will be spent on the design phase with construction likely starting in a year.

2013 could see more opportunities coming through north Lake Charles as the Enterprise Boulevard extension project nears completion.

"It's an opportunity to open up some very beautiful waterfront for future development and to help develop the community," said Marshall Simien, Lake Charles City Council.

The project cost an estimated $35 million dollars. Work is still underway but they expect to have the pavement poured and project wrapped up some time in April - weather permitting.

The new City Court building being built on Mill Street should also wrap up construction some time in the new year.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.