NewsLafayette Parish


Downtown officials push for new Heymann Performing Arts center to reside downtown

Posted at 3:30 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 08:05:17-05

More groups are speaking out on the potential new location of the Heymann Performing Arts Center.

Since Guillory's administration announced a possible relocation of the current Heymann Performing Arts Center, talks have begun about where the next center would go.

CEO of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Anita Begnaud says the parking lot right off Congress St. owned by First Horizon would be the perfect place.

According to our partners at The Advocate, downtown officials first pitched almost a year ago but was ruled out in a study by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. One of seven DLU pitched in its report that could also serve as a site to build the replacement for the Heymann Center.

"We are just a couple of minutes away from Evangeline Thruway, the future i-49 corridor where Second St. would be and the exit right into downtown Lafayette where anyone is traveling to and from the city of Lafayette and Lafayette parish,” Begnaud said.

A map drawn out by the DDA shows the potential for two parking garages in the area to alleviate parking, one off of Rue Biblioteque and the other on Buchanan St.

"You build vertical parking to increase the parking capacity and you wrap it with uses the public can enjoy. That generates energy, foot traffic, and sales tax and it increases the property values not only with these surface parking lots that would not only be a part of the development, but all of the buildings that exist around it."

Last month, Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s office announced a tentative agreement between the city and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to lease the university-owned property across Congress St. from Cajun Field for $1 a year. The agreement, the statement read, would significantly reduce the cost of the project, which is estimated at $100 to $150 million.

The Guillory administration tells KATC they are weighing out all of their options before closing in on an agreement.

However, Begnaud says there are more opportunities downtown for economic growth.

"If we have 2200 seats in this future performing arts center, and we programmed it 100 times a year, that's 200 thousand more feet on the sidewalks that could go grab a drink before or after a performance, grab dinner before or after I want to shop... the small business would see tremendous benefit from this,” Begnaud said.

According to members of the Lafayette City Council, they are pushing for a community discussion before moving forward with a vote on their final decision.

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