Will Lakefront commercial project be downsized?

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – City officials held a press conference Friday afternoon to present an overview and schedule of the six Lakefront and Downtown 2010 Capital Projects.

The six projects include a maintenance building, a redesigned south entrance, playground and amphitheater, a surge levee for Clarence Street, an extension of Gill Street into the park, and an enhancement of Ryan Street, an effort known as Ryan Streetscape.

Advertisements for bids have already started for some of the projects.

Construction will begin on each of the projects later this year. The projects are scheduled to be completed in 2011 and 2012.

But one project city officials had not planned on discussing in Friday's press conference was the commercial project slated to be constructed south of the Civic Center on a piece of property known as Tract 1A.

Earlier this week, developers for the project, the Cypress Group, said the conceptual designs they made public in April may have to be changed. The developers said they are not sure what the Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide in terms of financing the project.

"I don't know what HUD is going to tell me they will finance," said Cypress Group developer Chris Rinaudo.

Rinaudo said a lot of the original design was based on market studies from a few years ago. Rinaudo said his group will need to do their own market studies.

On Friday, Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach acknowledged the project may ultimately be scaled back.

"That is possible," said Roach. "It depends upon the market study that is done. The market study will define what is considered to be the current market in that area."

Regardless, the six capital projects discussed in Friday's press conference will go forward, since funding is already in place for those projects, according to Roach.

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