A flurry of development south of Interstate 12 is poised to bring acres of new shopping, hotels, apartments, restaurants and professional services to Denham Springs.
Multiple projects are in the works in and near the burgeoning Denham Springs Development District around the intersection of Bass Pro Boulevard and South Range Road.
Last month, crews broke ground on a new 15,500-square-foot shopping center across from Rotolo’s Pizzeria. It will house a Heroman’s Florist shop, Firehouse Subs and Red Wing Shoes, among others, and should open in the spring, said building owner Ricky Heroman.
“It’s a good development. A lot of people are attracted that way, toward Denham. A lot of people have moved in that direction,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a very good area. … It’s kind of a happening place.”
The I-12 corridor is drawing new development throughout the parish. Juban Crossing lies just one exit to the east, and its first store held a grand opening earlier in October. Additional openings are slated through the end of the year, with more businesses and hundreds of residences planned for the future.
The growth off South Range Road is evident in the Development District’s sales tax figures. It contributed more than $4 million to parish coffers through sales taxes in fiscal year 2014, according to school system documents.
In fiscal year 2010, the district generated $1,719,883 in sales tax. In the first three months of the current fiscal year, the district generated $988,371, with Black Friday still on the horizon.
Looking forward, a five-story hotel in the Marriott group of hotels is on the way, said Joe Moore, division director of Re/Max First Commercial. It is expected to break ground just west of Sam’s Club next summer.
There are talks of another hotel at the northwest corner of Bass Pro and South Range, but the specifics have yet to be ironed out. Moore said the hotel likely would be several floors and include a restaurant.
A 5-acre site west of Cavender’s also is keeping the names of specific tenants under wraps. Developers are trying to strike deals with a national fitness chain, two banks, a tanning salon, clothing and shoe retailers, and chiropractors, said I-10 Hospitality LLC President Geno Iafrate.
The restaurant Quaker Steak & Lube as well as I-10 Hospitality’s corporate offices are both confirmed tenants, Iafrate said. The two-building site is in the design phase.
There are talks of a gated 324-unit apartment complex off 4-H Club Road between Bass Pro Boulevard and Vincent Road, just outside the city limits, said Denham Springs Mayor Jimmy Durbin.
Moore described it as a “high-end” and “upscale” property on 14 acres. The complex is still working with the parish on permitting issues.
Moore said he believes 4-H Club Road is ripe for residential development due to its location and access to city water and sewer service.
“I think we’re going to see a lot more growth down that corridor in the future,” Moore said.
Growth throughout the parish has been a concern for the Livingston Parish school system. School Board members have criticized parish and municipal leaders for leaving them in the dark about plans for future homes and the additional students they will bring.
The board has built schools in preparation for growth in the south side of the city, board member Karen Wax Schmitt has said.
She has spoken out against a proposed apartment complex in Denham Springs off Pete’s Highway, which would feed into the Southside Junior High School under the current district lines.
She has said school leaders were “out of the loop on this and thrown for a loop,” regarding the proposed Pete’s Highway development.
If the rezoning allowing its construction is approved, the complex likely would include new students not planned for by the School Board, she said.
Two other lucrative sites in the Development District are on the market and have generated interest from potential buyers, Moore said.
Another national chain restaurant has been in talks to move next door to the Longhorn Steakhouse. A 2.5-acre plot south of Hooters will “definitely” have some restaurants on the ground level with retailers and offices above, he said.
“We’re really excited about the developments coming next year and the year after,” Moore said.
In November, Denham Springs annexed a 33-acre site and formed the new Springs at Riverside Landing Economic Development District to promote future growth, though the land has not yet been developed. The site lies to the south of the Denham Springs Economic Development District, with its own southern boundary at Vincent Road.
Durbin said he hopes the new Springs at Riverside Landing Economic Development District will continue to build on the area’s growth.
“Things are jumping,” he said.
Editor’s note: This story was changed Oct. 27, 2014, to reflect that Livingston Parish School Board member Karen Wax Schmitt said the board did not know about the proposed complex near 4-H Club Road and did not design Southside Junior High to accommodate the influx of students expected to live there. She said the School Board has prepared for development south of the city but said the board had not made plans for any specific development.