LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Lake Charles City Council voted 6-for approving a cooperative endeavor agreement between the City of Lake Charles and Crying Eagle Brewery for the construction of a restaurant on the Lake Charles lakefront.
This vote also allows the mayor to enter into a lease, rights of use, servitudes, development agreements and other necessary agreements for the project.
Councilwoman Mary Morris abstained from voting, saying she couldn’t vote on the final action because the council doesn’t know what the final cooperative endeavor will say.
“It’s not that it isn’t a good venture and it’s not that we don’t appreciate it, we do appreciate it,” Morris said. “The problem is we just don’t know what the cooperative endeavor agreement says. That is the only reason I am abstaining.”
David Morgan, the city’s attorney, confirms the CEA is not complete.
“Primarily due to site plan for Port Wonder and Crying Eagle and where the crying Eagle location will be, Port Wonder’s footprint, and the common areas,” David said. “Where the boardwalk will be, trying to recapture some land and put up some bulkhead, all of those are not yet complete so I think it is early to do the CEA itself, but the incentives that are mentioned in Dr. Richardson’s report from LSU will not change.”
Council President Luvertha August requested the CEA and all over related documents be given to the council members, something David Morgan said would happen.
“This is a big deal,” Councilman Mark Eckard said. “We appreciate Crying Eagle for submitting a proposal and allowing us the opportunity to enter these negotiations and I think this will be a great addition to our lakefront there by Port Wonder. I am looking forward to a good, strong partnership between the city and Crying Eagle as we lease them this land and as they do business there on the lakefront. Hopefully, this is the starting point for other developments in the future.”
Eric Avery, the president of Crying Eagle, says he is excited after this vote.
“We feel really, really great," Avery said. "It’s been a long time coming. Everyone knows we were originally looked at downtown for the original Crying Eagle, we settled in on McNeese. The idea never really came up again until we heard about the lakefront development. All these new sparks and energy started up again and this is just another step that says this is where we are supposed to be.”
The restaurant on the lakefront was first announced in October.
“We have hired an architect, Randy Goodlow, and we are getting with him, his firm and the city to start putting pieces in place on what we plan to do, how we plan to lay it out," Avery said. "After that point, we get with the city and we work with them and Port Wonder and the site and make it all work and hopefully start construction sometime in the middle of next year.”
Avery says they are hoping construction takes 8 to ten months but says realistically it could take up to a year. The location of the new restaurant will be in between where Port Wonder will be constructed and the old Harrah’s parking garage. Avery says the existing Crying Eagle Brewery located on McNeese Street will remain their manufacturing hub.