LAFAYETTE — A public agency that owns several downtown properties is preparing to gut the old Greyhound bus station on Lee Avenue as talks continue on leasing or selling the building to Festival International de Louisiane for new office space.
Festival International, the nonprofit group that organizes Lafayette’s annual world music festival each spring in downtown, has offices on Jefferson Street but began discussions earlier this year with the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority.
No deal has been finalized for the old bus station, but the LPTFA voted Tuesday to spend up to $100,000 for interior demolition to clear the way for future renovations there.
“We are still moving forward with the lease terms,” said LPTFA Chairman John Arceneaux.
But he said the gutting the old bus station will make it easier to negotiate a deal for the property, regardless of whether Festival International lands there or someone else.
“In a building like that, it’s better that the contractor can walk in and see everything,” Arceneaux said.
The old downtown bus station has been vacant since 2012, when Greyhound moved its Lafayette terminal to the Rosa Parks Transportation Center a few blocks away.
City-parish government had considered using the building for a new downtown police precinct, but those plans were set aside.
The LPTFA is a self-supporting public authority that makes money through investments, financing and real estate holdings and uses the proceeds to support public projects.
The group owns several downtown properties, including the Uptown Lofts residential and commercial development on Pierce Street, the Studios at LWG artists lofts on Olivier Street and the old campus of the Acadiana Outreach Center, a nonprofit group serving those in recovery from addiction and the homeless that sold the property because of financial problems.
The LPTFA renovated one of the old Outreach Center buildings for an office and is trying to lease out the remaining buildings purchased from the nonprofit.
The LPTFA approved the lease of an 11,000-square-foot warehouse earlier this year to a company with plans to build an indoor skate park, and on Tuesday, the group approved the lease of 5,700 square feet of space to Firefly Digital, a digital media company.