LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY)- Local entrepreneurs are investing $50 million into 8 acres of blighted property  in Lafayette at the corner of 4533 Johnston Street & Camellia Blvd in a spot recently known as the Grand Marche Shopping Center. They’re hoping to bring a high end retail, dining, and community experience to the Hub City.

The Forum is the name of this new development. Plans are for store fronts to be made of glass panels and parking to be made easy for costumers. For the owner it’s all about giving back to his community.

Derek Curry was opening boutique sneaker stores around the country. COVID-19 hit and he was forced to spend more time at home. That’s when he had an idea.  “I have to build our home base back up and give something back to the city that got me where I am now,” says Derek Curry the owner of The Forum and Sneaker Politics.

Curry started working at a sneaker store in the Acadiana mall now he owns a massive brand, six stores, and plans to build two more.

“I was looking to do a new store then I met with Alex and he convinced me to not only do a store but to build a whole development and turn it into something great for the city,” Curry.

Designer Alex Luna and architect Terry Crochet says the forum will bring more amenities than your regular shopping experience.

“Instead of a vast parking lot and a row of shops that lose their identity the shops will have customers that can pull right up and go and get a much better experience,” Crochet Architects’ Design Studio.

Jim Keaty with Keaty Real Estate says, “What makes this different besides being new and modern and sleek is that they are moving forward. This project is being built. They are working on the infrastructure currently. We should be able to be partly back into commerce by the spring of 2022 which is very exciting.”