Legal Matters

Former land owners sue Costco developers

GBB Properties Two and DBR Properties accuse Stirling/CBL/Ambassador Infrastructure of scrimping on road and drainage work at the 58-acre site.

Photos by Robin May

The developers of the $100 million Ambassador Town Center anchored by Costco and Dick’s Sporting Goods are being sued by a pair of companies that represent the original land owners, who claim that Stirling Properties, CBL & Associates and Ambassador Infrastructure built the development’s infrastructure on the cheap and are reneging on an agreement to develop additional adjacent land still owned by the plaintiffs despite getting millions of dollars in tax incentives from the city. The suit was filed last week, as first reported Thursday by The Advocate.

GBB Properties Two and DBR Properties — the B in each company name stands for Boustany — accuse Stirling/CBL/Ambassador Infrastructure of scrimping on road and drainage work at the 58-acre site that celebrated its grand opening last month, and that the plaintiffs and defendants had an agreement that Stirling et al would also build infrastructure on an additional adjacent 67 acres the Boustany family still owns and plan to build a mixed-use development.

The suit details how the plaintiffs and developers jointly secured a Payment in Lieu of Taxes program — PILOT for short — that had Lafayette Consolidated Government forgiving millions of dollars in property taxes on the development. The money that would have otherwise been paid in property taxes was used by the developer to build the infrastructure for the development including additional public roads connecting Kaliste Saloom Road to Frem Boustany Road and ultimately to Verot School Road to help ease traffic congestion at the often-gridlocked Kaliste Saloom-Ambassador Caffery intersection.

The PILOT was approved by the Industrial Development Board in the summer of 2014 and work soon began on Ambassador Town Center.

“Subsequent to the commencement of construction of the infrastructure in conjunction with the PILOT Program, it became clear to the Plaintiffs that the infrastructure was being constructed primarily on the Stirling/CBL Tract, with construction on the Plaintiffs’ Tract being significantly less than expected and previously agreed upon by the parties,” the suit alleges.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract due to substandard construction and property damage, and they’re requesting that Stirling/CBL account for how it has spent the millions of dollars obtained through the PILOT.

Stirling is not commenting on the suit. We’ve reached out to LCG’s Public Works Department to see what local government inspected at the site and how those inspections were graded but haven’t yet heard back.