By JIM BUTLER
Giles Hyundai hopes to be in its new location on the old Forest Glen site before summer is over, completing a process that started when the 11-acre site was purchased by the Pineville Downtown Development District.
Meanwhile construction of the new Central Louisiana State Hospital continues next to the Pinecrest Support Center on Esler Field Road.
Proceeds from the state property sale are dedicated by 2019 law (written by Sen. Jay Luneau) to costs of building the new hospital.
According to Doug Gann, Mayor Rich Dupree’s chief of staff (and, according to its most recent audit, the unpaid volunteer PDDD executive director), the process was defined in 2015 legislation.
Former Sen. Rick Gallot’s bill allows the State to sell property to the Development District and then the PDDD sells it via the Request for Proposals process.
The district is similarly currently seeking RFPs for developing a larger tract (across from Y-Not Stop) into a commercial medical complex.
Giles’ winning bid was $240,000, which was the State’s appraisal and the minimum bid allowed.
The appraisal was derived from the depreciated value of removing asbestos and then associated demolition costs of five old buildings, Gann noted.
Total cost of the project is upwards of the 6-7 million dollar range upon completion.
All of the current State-owned land on the Central site must be bought by the PDDD (Mike Tudor is chairman) and then sold through this similar RFP process.
For years Pineville officials struggled with how to better utilize the Central tract as a gateway to the city.
Through the long administration of Fred Baden the question began to take care of itself as legal and medical changes in institutional care and treatment of the mentally ill occurred.
The evolution, with Forest Glen and Central part of it, continued through the years Clarence Fields led the city.
Now, the Dupree administration has tools available to more productively use the 400 or so acres as the city pushes against geographical limits and to more effectively provide care for those who need it.
Dr. Arthur Seale must be smiling.