GONZALES – Conway, a walkable premiere lifestyle community set on 344 acres of a former cattle ranch, held a groundbreaking Tuesday morning for the development that will bring some 930 residential lots, apartments and retail stores.
Developers and area officials were on site of the property once owned by M.P. Evans off La. 44 that was annexed into the city limits of Gonzales in 2012. Southern Lifestyle Development closed on the property last summer for $8 million and expects to invest $325 million in the project.
“There is no project we are more excited about,” said Robert Daigle, co-founder of Southern Lifestyle Development. “It takes a Herculean effort to make this happen.”
The economy of northeastern Louisiana traditionally has been resistant to huge swings.
The area rode through the Great Recession without huge hits. At the same time, the region seldom sees spurts of growth. The best description of the region’s economy can be summed up in one word: stable.
Monroe is on the cusp of a rare spurt.
CenturyLink continues to attract such partners as IBM to Monroe. CenturyLink also is instrumental in the creatiom of Century Village, the 88-acre development that will blend housing and retail into one neighborhood with parks, restaurants and more within walking distance of family homes.
The development is called the Conway and is more than 300 acres land located right off of Highway 44.
It is expected to include about 1,000 single homes and 500 apartments with restaurants and shops. Mayor of Gonzales, Barney Arceneaux, said that the development is a "jewel."
"I like the term now 'The Jewel of the South,' and other people may take claim of that but right now it's our day and I'll take claim for it," Arceneaux said.
Robert Daigle, of Southern Lifestyle Development, known for his River Ranch development in Lafayette, is the developer for the Ascension Parish project.
"We are actively starting earth work which includes construction on all of our lake systems and things of that nature but from this point forward on you're going to see an awful lot of things happening on this property," Daigle said.
However, there are concerns about traffic once the development is underway. Developers say they are working closely with DOTD to add additional roadways to help with those concerns.
"We're going to doing a two land roundabout right on Highway 44 at the entrance as well as an additional lane so we're going to be doing a lot of road improvements to help the congestion," Prescott Bailey, of Southern Lifestyle Development, said.
Mayor Arceneaux says that residents may have to deal with some impacts while construction is going on, but says it will be worth it once the development is complete.
"We'll ask our citizens just to have some patience," he said.
"Surely it's going to be tough for a while, but I can ensure you all in due time you're going to have a wonderful project and you're going to have a wonderful new road way as well," Arceneaux said.
Developers say the development will be completed in about six years.
MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Project leaders and elected officials from all over the area announced the groundbreaking of Century Village, a new development aimed at catapulting economic development in the region.
The 88 acre residential development will also include recreational facilities like restaurants, parks and even a daycare center.
It will all be built around the centerpiece of the project - a new headquarter building for IBM.
The project is meant to be a tool to recruit more business and attract potential employees to Monroe.
A big key is the partnership between CenturyLink and IBM. Both companies say this new development will help that relationship flourish.
CenturyLink President and CEO Glen Post says this is a major step forward.
"I think it will be a great tool for recruitment. We try to attract the best quality in the world to Century Link and this area. This is going to create an advancement in quality of life for North Louisiana and Monroe," Post said.
Construction on the project should start immediately.
Fortune 200 company CenturyLink announced Thursday, that it will be creating a new traditional neighborhood development known as century village.
"This will be a mixed used area, century village. It will involve businesses, local retail shops, along with residential areas," says Glen Post, CEO/President of CenturyLink.
Accessible to those that work for the company and those that don't, CenturyLink CEO Glen Post says Century Village will be a major recruiting factor for the company.
"We try to attract the best talent in the world to CenturyLink and to this area. This is going to help create an advancement in quality of life in Northeast Louisiana and Monroe," says Post.
Along with new neighborhood development, CenturyLink will host its first commercial tenant in Century Village, IBM.
"We've signed a long-term business transformation agreement with them. They've agreed to bring a lot of jobs here to Monroe," says Post.
Along with bringing jobs to the area, IBM representatives say advancements in the information technology world will happen right here in our back yards.
"When you think about the it world, we're going to be doing cloud work and mobile work here. We're really excited to be able to enter new technology and support our clients through the team here in Monroe," says Joanne Collins-Smee, IBM Delivery Centers Coordinator.
The construction process for Century Village is expected to start in the coming months.
Century Village is an 88-acre development that will blend housing and retail into one neighborhood with parks, restaurants and more within walking distance of family homes. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which will be across U.S. 165 from CenturyLink's Monroe campus, was Thursday.
Glen F. Post III, CEO and president of CenturyLink, said the property was purchased in 2013, and he thinks Century Village will have long-term positive effects on Monroe, which is becoming a port for technology-based careers.
Joanne Collins-Smee, general manager of globally integrated delivery capabilities for IBM, said the company needs an incredible talent base to be able to flourish here, and they have that with strong relationships with area universities.
Robert Daigle, a partner in Southern Lifestyle Development, talked about his company's plans for the area. SLD develops smart growth, mixed-use communities and is known for the award-winning Village of River Ranch in Lafayette. He said the center of the development will be a five-story tower with two floors dedicated to IBM offices and rentable office spaces for other businesses. The ground floor will have a Romacelli Italian restaurant, a wine bar and a health and fitness center. The community also will have a day care center, a clinic, a bank and a market.
Daigle said previous developments have established not-for-profit groups that develop the arts within the community, and live music has been a priority.
The company is building several other communities in the state, including plans for Somerset Park in Sterlington.
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said he supported the project from the moment he heard about it and it's a boon to the community that IBM wants to come here, and CenturyLink continues to invest in the city.
Conway is set on a beautiful 350 acre piece of land in Gonzales, Louisiana. One thousand families will make Conway their home at completion and will include homes, apartments, office and retail space. Neighborhood amenities will include 46 acres of lakes and jogging paths along with a neighborhood pool and park.
Gonzales — A developer plans to build an upscale mixed-use community of retail stores, apartments and homes on a former cattle ranch, which is the largest piece of undeveloped property in Gonzales.
Lafayette-based Southern Lifestyle Development has a contract to purchase the property, situated on La. 44 just south of I-10, for $8 million and plans to close on the transaction in the spring, said Prescott Bailey, who works for the development company.
The 344-acre ranch, which is known locally as the M.P. Evans property after the late Merritt P. Evans Jr., who raised cattle there for years, is being sold by the heirs of the estate.
Bailey said construction of the development’s infrastructure — streets, drainage, water and sewer lines — is expected to begin in the summer or fall with the development to be built in phases over the next six years.
“It’s a great location with quick access to the interstate and the plants” along the river, Bailey said.
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