Around Town

La Marquise sale means sweet deal for Petroleum Club

by Leslie Turk

GM confirms Petroleum Club will vacate La Marquise June 15, but within seven months will have a brand spanking new facility in Parc Lafayette.

Petroleum Club of Lafayette General Manager John O’Meara confirms to ABiz that his Oil Center-based club has a new deal cooking with Parc Lafayette developer Glenn Stewart.

O’Meara, who is traveling and was unavailable for comment earlier Wednesday when ABiz reported that the La Marquise building was sold or in the process of being sold, confirms that Petroleum Club will no longer be hosting special events at La Marquise as of June 15. But by early in the third quarter, it will have a brand-new facility in the upscale Kaliste Saloom Road/Camellia Boulevard shopping center.

John O'Meara says an all-new Petroleum Club of Lafayette La Marquise Ballroom should be under construction before the end of the month.
Photo by Robin May

O’Meara, who says he is not privy to details involving the sale of La Marquise (ABiz’s sources say it will soon be home to Drago’s, but the restaurant's owner says he remains under a confidentiality agreement), stresses that when Petroleum Club took over the space last year, it was with the understanding that if the building sold a new arrangement would have to be worked out. He notes that the club did have the option to purchase the building.

Stewart, however, had a better proposal. The developer has promised to construct a 20,000-square-foot facility — the existing La Marquise building is 16,000 — that will be become the all-new Petroleum Club of Lafayette’s La Marquis Ballroom. It’s slated to be built behind the Home 2 Suites by Hilton, which is currently under construction, on a parcel of land that is paved and has a grassy center (the statues on the property will soon be removed, O'Meara says).

The Petroleum Club GM is excited about the new deal, the opportunity to create a multi-functional space specifically designed for the Petroleum Club’s members and their guests to have wedding receptions, banquets and similar events. While the current La Marquise did make for a beautiful venue, it was a retro-fitted women's clothing store that required some workarounds.

“I think it’s really a fabulous situation,” O’Meara tells ABiz.

Like the existing La Marquise, the new facility will have a 10,000-square-foot ballroom that seats 500 people, but will offer two additional 2,300-square-foot spaces that can be combined. In fact, for the right event all three could serve as a single space of nearly 10,500 square feet and seat 950. It will also have a bride’s changing room.

“But the nicest addition,” O’Meara says, “is we will have a full, full kitchen.” With the old space, prep and cooking were done off-site at the Petroleum Club’s Oil Center location, and a mobile kitchen was brought in as needed.

Construction should begin before the end of April, O’Meara says, with the space expected to begin hosting events in October. Stewart will own it, and Petroleum Club will sign a three-year lease.

O’Meara maintains that the new plan has not caused a disruption in the club’s event business, noting that only one event that had been scheduled for the existing La Marquise venue in August had to be moved to Petroleum Club.

He says while others inquired about having their events at La Marquise, no contracts had been signed and no deposits taken.