After several years of planning, permitting and development, the Long Farm Village traditional neighborhood development is starting to take shape.
The majority of the 65 lots in the first phase of Long Farm are under contract, said developer Russell Mosely. Revisions are being made to a second filing of 56 lots and the city-parish Planning Commission is set to vote on a third filing of 40 lots at its May 19 meeting. At that same meeting, the commission will also consider an upscale apartment complex for the development bordered by Airline and Jefferson highways and Barringer-Foreman Road.
And bids are set to be open later this week for the extension and realignment of Antioch Road, which will serve as another connection between Jefferson and Airline. The road project clears the way for Rouses Market to build its first Baton Rouge location in Long Farm Village.
“It’s coming along,” said Mosely, sitting back in the model home in the first phase of Long Farm Village. “I’ve been working on this for about eight years. These things take a long time to put together, but it’s all falling into place at this point. There were a lot of studies and planning — a lot that is on paper that will be coming to fruition soon.”
These additional phases are bringing Long Farm Village closer to Mosely’s goal of being a community with something for everyone, from young singles to the elderly.
“We want people to live all phases of life here,” he said. Long Farm will have apartments and lofts for people who are just starting out in the workforce, a mix of single-family homes for families as they grow and rise up the income ladder and, eventually, a range of senior residences, including independent living, assisted-living units and a nursing home.
So far, the development has brought in a mix of residents, from young families with small children to empty nesters. Mosely said Long Farm Village is bringing in people who want a walkable community with a range of amenities.
“It’s the way it used to be, way back,” he said. “You were able to have a full day without ever having to leave that community. You don’t have to fight the traffic of Baton Rouge.”
The 237-acre development is being built on a tract of farmland assembled in the early 1960s by Mosely’s grandfather, the late U.S. Sen. Russell Long.
Plans are for Long Farm to eventually have about 400 single-family residences, up to 1,100 multifamily units and 690,000 square feet of office, commercial and retail space.
Because of the amenities, which include a clubhouse, pool, alleys, parks and concrete walking paths, homes in Long Farm Village are priced above the local average, at about $170 a square foot.
“It’s hard for us to get much lower than $300,000 for a house with the land costs and development costs,” Mosely said.
The homes in the second filing will be on slightly smaller lots, making them a little lower than in the first phase, when houses started at $377,900.
To open up Long Farm to more residents, an upscale apartment complex, The Columns at Long Farm, also will be part of the development. ECI Group of Atlanta, which has more than 10,000 units across the Southeast, will develop the 276-unit complex. The Columns, which should open in the first half of 2015, will have one-, two- and three-bedroom units spread across 13 buildings.
The apartment development will help bring in more retail and office space. Another driver for commercial activity will be the extension of Antioch Road. Bids for the $1 million project are set to be opened by the city-parish Purchasing Department on Thursday. The construction of the road triggers the finalization of the deal to sell five acres of land fronting Airline to Rouses.
“We are confident we will have a closing on the Rouses property before the road starts construction,” Mosely said. Plans are to finish the road work by the end of January and for Rouses to open by mid-2015.
Mosely said he expects Rouses, a Thibodaux-based grocery chain well known for the quality of its products, will be a “great draw.”
“Everyone I’ve spoken to who has been to Rouses has had a positive experience,” he said.
With all of the expansions in the works, Long Farm Village will look “completely different” a year from now.
“We’ll have Rouses and the retail under construction,” Mosely said. “We’ll start planning office space and we’ll be progressing toward securing land for a YMCA.”
The development of Long Farm is progressing just like Mosely originally planned. “There have been opportunities to do it quicker and wrong,” he said. “I would rather do it slower and right and really deliver something good. You only get one chance at developing something like this.”