Civic center gets tenant to stay on

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 2, 2007

LIFT paying $15,000 a month


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Since its construction, the big bread-winner and primary tenant for the St. John Parish Civic Center has been the Louisiana Institute of Film Technology (LIFT).

While those days may be nearing an end – the institute is planning a move into an over $100 million complex in New Orleans – the Parish Council caught a temporary breathing spell when they seized LIFT’s offer to extend the lease, originally scheduled to end this Saturday, to a month-to-month basis.

The LIFT contract hasn’t just funneled over $180,000 a year into the Parish budget’s bottom line. It’s been a catalyst for tourism, hotel, gas station, nightlife and restaurant growth and other spin-off revenue, as well as an introduction to what could one day be a very lucrative industry for the parish: film.

Yet with LIFT preparing to move the bulk of its operation into the city, the parish is looking to fill the vacancy – something they were ill-prepared to do by July 1, the initial end-date on LIFT’s lease.

Now, with LIFT’s moving plans delayed, the parish will have more time to attract new bidders, which, according to former Councilman Sean Roussel, has not so far been an unproductive search.

&#8220We have had interest from other studios,” Roussel said, listing Sony and Disney as two prospective clients. &#8220The civic center, if used properly, can continue to be a boon for the parish.”