Nearly 600 University of Louisiana at Lafayette students will have a new place to live on campus starting with the Fall 2019 semester.

Construction on a luxury-style apartment complex with furnished units and granite counter tops is on schedule for completion in mid-August, Bill Crist, director of facilities management, said.

Students who haven’t claimed a space yet may be out of luck, though, because 95 percent of the 591 beds in the complex already are taken.

“We’re already full before we even open,” Crist said.

Occupying a prominent space near the intersection of Johnston and East Lewis streets, the complex spans both sides of a coulee and includes five buildings, a pool, a sand volleyball court and on-campus parking.

The smallest building, on the corner of Johnston and East Lewis, will include nearly 5,000 feet of commercial retail space on the ground floor, with apartments on the upper two floors, he said.

Called Heritage at Cajun Village, the complex will offer two-, three- and four-bedroom units to students who have earned at least 30 course credits.

The cost to build the apartments alone is about $48 million, Crist said. Other expenses, such as redeveloping an existing central receiving building, bump the cost to about $50 million.

Ragin’ Cajun Facilities Inc., a private nonprofit organization formed in 2001 to finance construction on the UL campus, partnered with the university on the project. As a nonprofit, the group qualifies for tax exemptions and sells bonds to pay for construction without having to compete for state capital outlay money.

Crist and Jerry Luke LeBlanc, UL vice president of administration and finance and former Louisiana legislator, are two of Ragin’ Cajun Facilities’ directors, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State Office.

The organization assisted with financing Legacy Park Apartment Complex on the UL campus, renovating and expanding the student union, renovating O.K. Allen Hall for use as a student health center, demolishing several residence halls and building new ones, building a six-story on-campus parking garage, adding to the Leon Moncla Indoor Athletic Practice Facility and adding seats to the Cajun Field football stadium.


Follow Claire Taylor on Twitter, @ClaireTaylorACA