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New plan to develop Cross Bayou moves forward

Published: May. 23, 2018 at 1:41 AM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2018 at 3:59 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The developers behind a new plan for Cross Bayou are feeling encouraged after Shreveport City Council members gave an early show of support Tuesday.

The proposal, however, is a long way from being a done deal.

Gateway Development Consortium (GDC) hopes to build a $1 billion mixed-use complex that will include a municipal complex, a school, housing and more.

The proposal comes just months after a similar bid from Mayor Ollie Tyler, which included a sports complex, failed.

On Tuesday, council members debated a resolution that would have authorized a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the developers.

Council members ultimately approved an amended version of the resolution that supports the mayor's authority to execute any future agreements and sets out six provisions for the developers.

"The other six items are things that GDC must do in terms of moving forward with a potential MOU," District F Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch said. "Those six things are things we are getting feedback about."

Paul Pratt, GDC's principal partner, explained: "What this does is just move us forward in order to engage in further conversation with the mayor to start  a master plan of this waterfront development.

"We're very proud of the council's decision today. This is just a step to move forward."

The mayor's support is still a long away off.

"I want to make it clear this is not my legislation," Tyler said.

"I made it clear that I would not be a leader on this effort, not after what happened last year," she told council members.

The mayor said she supports development of Cross Bayou but won't be signing any agreements of support with developers until she has more information and her concerns are addressed.

Tyler cited concerns with the original resolution before council.

"It's not something I'm gonna do until I have a comfort level with what the developers want to do."

Council members were mixed in their thoughts on the matter.

So were community members.

"If it wasn't a good idea for the sports complex, how can this be a good idea today?" political activist John Settle Jr. asked. "Let's put our rose-tinted glasses on and maybe it is."

Shreveport resident Craig Lee asked: "For each councilman opposed to this project, what project or projects have you brought to the table to stimulate economic development in Shreveport-Caddo?"

The next step is for the developers to meet with the mayor and city leaders.

The developers hope for a public-private partnership, saying most of the money would come from the private sector.

They say they could put shovel to dirt in 18 months, but also say that's a very optimistic guess.

As for those 6 provisions the council is requiring, they include:

the following provisions shall be included (but not be limited to) in any non-binding Memorandum of Understanding:

1. Within one (1) year from the date of the executed MOU, GDC shall deliver to the City a commitment from the State of Louisiana to consolidate certain State Offices within the proposed municipal complex.

2. Within one (1) year from the date of the executed MOU, GDC shall deliver to the City a report regarding onsite remediation of the project area designated as a brownfield.

3. Within two (2) years from the date of the executed MOU, GDC shall deliver to the City a commitment for financing of a minimum of 500 housing units.

4. GDC will provide the City detailed cost benefit analyses and pro formas showing return on City investment from assembling the lands shown in EXHIBIT 2 into one contiguous tract.

5. GDC will provide the City detailed cost benefit analyses and pro formas showing return on City investment from donation and/or lease City-owned land as shown in EXHIBIT 2.

6. GDC will provide the City detailed cost benefit analyses and pro formas showing return on investment from the City providing infrastructure as-built plans, engineering data such as GIS, on-going and planned project information, Rights-of-Way (ROW) related to the land development site, streets, drainage, parks, parking, bayou waters, as well as zoning rights for the purpose of erecting buildings and other infrastructure components.

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