Records: Stewart only owns 13.58 acres at Parc Lafayette site
MD-turned-developer Glenn Stewart told The Independent Weekly for a Feb. 23 story that he had invested $15.5 million in land costs, having purchased all 34 acres of his proposed Parc Lafayette lifestyle center in 2009, and another $4 million in infrastructure costs over the past six months. But records with the Lafayette Parish Tax Assessor’s Office reveal that’s not the case, that he only owns a portion of the tract, and Stewart clarified Thursday that he has a contract on the remaining acreage.
In January 2009 Stewart Family LLC, Birch Tree Estates LLC and Townhouse Plaza LLC purchased 13.58 acres, the front portion of the Kaliste Saloom Road/Camellia Boulevard tract, from the Saloom family for $7.01 million. But the remaining larger parcel down Camellia, 19.39 acres, is still owned by Saloom LLC and Pine Farm Limited Partnership LLC, according to the assessor’s office. So why should that matter for a private developer? Because Stewart is asking the Lafayette City-Parish Council to approve the creation of special taxing districts at the site so that he can develop a four- or five-star hotel and convention center, a request that has sparked controversy and outrage among some residents.
The proposed economic development districts — also called a Tax Increment Financing district — are on prime real estate acreage across the street from upscale River Ranch. These types of incentives were made possible by the Louisiana Legislature in 2002 when it amended decades-old incentive laws to allow for a wider range of economic development projects. The proposal before the council calls for an additional 2 cent sales tax and 2 cent hotel occupancy tax at the hotel, and a 1 cent sales tax in the retail development that will surround the hotel. The base sales tax of 8 percent would continue to line the coffers of the state, local government and the Lafayette Parish School Board, and absolutely no tax dollars are on the hook if the development fails; the additional tax expires when the bonds are paid off.
In a brief phone conversation this morning from San Francisco, where he was in a business meeting, Stewart clarified that he has options on the remaining acreage. “We’re in a contract. We’ve got the money set aside. We’ve already done the wetlands work. We spent $100,000 getting the wetlands mitigated on that property,” he said. “It’s under contract. We just haven’t closed on it yet.” So, does Stewart believe having a contract equates to a purchase? “With the amount I have down in it, yes I do,” he said. He declined to specify just how much he has invested in the parcel.
Stewart also declined to name the high-end women’s department store that will anchor the retail portion of his development, despite that he says a lease has been finalized. He also would not disclose the names of the tenants he says have signed leases for 62,500 square feet of retail at the site. “I’d rather not,” he said. “I’m working with the leasing agent, and some of the tenants would rather their name not be disclosed because they’re in other current locations right now. Without knowing for sure [if they would be OK with releasing their names], I’d rather not.”
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.