Shreveport mayor announces $100M mixed-use complex

22 August 2017

Mayor Ollie Tyler  announced late Monday afternoon that she intends to move ahead with a new $100 million "mixed-use" complex to be built along the Cross-Bayou Corridor on the north side of downtown.

Details were incomplete in the Monday news release, with more to come at Tuesday's regularly scheduled council meeting.

But the news release said the new downtown complex could serve both as a home for the Pelicans team and as the site of a mid-sized sports events center with capacity for about 3,000 people.

"Mixed use" typically refers to developments with retail stores, professional offices and apartments or condos in proximity.

The events center would permit "year-round activity" that could include local, state and regional basketball, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, boxing, cheer competitions and lacrosse tournaments, according to the release.

The city's news release also said that Shreveport is one of two remaining finalists in the New Orleans Pelicans NBA franchise's hunt for a home for its new developmental league basketball team. The other finalist is Pensacola, Florida.

Administration officials hinted several months ago at a plan for a sports complex to include a new arena for the Pelicans' developmental league team as a sweetener for the Pelicans, although the only financial figure mentioned was $25 million.

The news release refers to the development as a $100 million development. The administration will seek approval to spend up to $30 million on its part of the public-private partnership.

The plan for the $100 million complex funded through a public-private partnership was presented to the Pelicans organization "several weeks ago," the city said in the release.

"City Council approval will be needed prior to utilizing any funds once there is a formal agreement with both the Pelicans and its other private partners," the release says. "This effort is part of the Mayor's vision to provide a more competitive landscape to the community in order to generate jobs, improve our economy, decrease crime and provide a better quality of life for each citizen."

The proposed location is just north of the Hilton Hotel downtown.

Tyler said in the news release that the proposed complex would be "a great opportunity for the City of Shreveport and the entire region to provide a significant economic driver in job creation as well as a family-friendly venue for our citizens."

egislation aimed at funding the complex will be introduced at Tuesday's City Council meeting, although that is a procedural step and will not complete the process, according to the release.

"This development will also attract visitors from across the state, region and nation because Shreveport will become a destination instead of just a place to visit," she said.

Though all the details of the complex are not yet clear, Councilman Willie Bradford, who was the sole dissenting vote when the council was asked earlier this year to approve a non-binding resolution about a sports complex, said in an interview that he still has several reservations about the sports complex.

“I’m still not there,” Bradford said. “I’m not confident that this arena will have the type of economic impact presented. I’ll reserve my questions for the mayor for following tomorrow’s presentation.”

Councilman Jerry Bowman said he’s interested in hearing about the projected economic development opportunities the complex could bring. He mentioned, too, that most of his constituents' concerns are on city issues other than the complex.

“The emails I’ve been getting from citizens are concerns about ongoing things in their communities, streets, violent crime, infrastructure,” Bowman said. Other council members said they would wait until Tuesday’s presentation before offering comment for publication.