It might take another million dollars in tax revenue to pay for new roads and other infrastructure to lure a developer to a long-vacant tract at the Louisiana Avenue exit off Interstate 10.
An extra penny sales tax has been in place for several years at the Louisiana Avenue/I-10 interchange, where the revenue paid for about $9 million in roadwork, drainage improvements and other upgrades as part of a deal to attract the Target-anchored development southwest of the interchange.
The City-Parish Council last year approved extending the extra tax to pay for another $3 million in upgrades northeast of the interchange for a planned development there, and on Tuesday, the council voted 7-2 to bump the cap up to $4 million.
The money is dedicated to sidewalks, a new I-10 frontage road, turning lanes and other public projects to make the site more accommodating for a planned 42-acre commercial development.
Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, a supporter of the project, said the cap for spending on the improvements needed to be raised because the cost likely will be higher than earlier estimates.
“The potential developer is now moving into the design phase. In this case, when the developer went out and looked at the design, the capacity was greater,” Boudreaux said.
Few specifics have been revealed about the development, other than that plans call for a Super 1 Foods grocery store, a theater, restaurants, retailers and a hotel.
Talk of the development comes after most of the land around the Louisiana Avenue exit has remained vacant more than a decade after the interchange opened, due in part to concerns over the flood classifications in the area and in part to slow development for north Lafayette in general.
“We are getting close,” Boudreaux said of the proposed development. “It has been a constant challenge.”
Council members Boudreaux, Jay Castille, Kevin Naquin, Pat Lewis, Elizabeth Webb Hebert, Bruce Conque and Nanette Cook supported raising the infrastructure spending cap to $4 million.
Councilmen Jared Bellard and William Theriot opposed the measure.
In other business, the council, which held its first meeting of 2016 with four new members, elected Castille as chairman and Boudreaux as vice chairman.
Both councilmen are serving their third terms.
Boudreaux served as chairman in 2015. Castille served as chairman once before, in 2010.