LAFAYETTE, LA — A property long considered an eyesore in Lafayette now has the City-Parish Council’s approval to be torn down.
The LessPay Motel’s demolition is just one part of a $15M revitalization project and the catalyst of Lafayette University corridor revitalization effort.
For decades the four corners neighborhood was a vibrant part of Lafayette.
“This was the first suburb of Lafayette,” remembered Stephanie Cornay Dugan.
Mayor-President Joel Robideaux recalled, “When I was growing up, there was Jacob’s Restaurant. There was Toby’s Restaurant. There was Pat’s Theater. All of that on those four quadrants, the four corners.”
As the years passed, the area and its property became something else.
“The less pay motel was always kind of that symbol of what disinvestment looks like,” Robideaux said, but Tuesday night Lafayette City-Parish Council decided to reinvest in the block, lending $1.5M to HRI Properties’ $15M revitalization project. The loan has a 45-year repayment deadline.
Josh Collen, the HRI Properties contact for the project said this project is a perfect fit, “When we look at an opportunity to really transform and make a place, the ingredients are there.”
The New Orleans based company has been looking for a place in Lafayette to turn into affordable artist lofts for five years. At the same time, Stephanie Cornay Dugan and 200 of her neighbors decided it was time to turn Four Corners around, “Authorities told us basically that it couldn’t be done, that we didn’t know what we were doing, and the neighborhood proved them 100% wrong.”
Dugan and her husband have lived in Four Corners her whole life. They want to see the old Coca-Cola bottling plant transformed into something that will benefit their home, “We’re older. We have no children, and so what we can do for the community is really our legacy.”
The Less Pay Motel will be torn to the ground with the area available for future development.
Mayor-President Robideaux stated, “You’d be hard-pressed to convince me that there’s a better use for a million and a half of the three or four million that we’ve dedicated to the whole University gateway.”
HRI Properties building permits should be ready within a week.
There’s no set date yet for when this property will be torn down, but both Robideaux and Dugan said there has been some discussion of whether to let the community pick up a sledgehammer and join in when the time comes.
Dugan said she’s confident this project will be the jumpstart Four Corners needs, “For someone coming into Downtown Lafayette, it’s a showplace now, not an eyesore.”