Developers of a mixed-use community coming to Gonzales closed on the $8 million purchase of the property Tuesday.

“We are the proud owners of approximately 345 acres, and we hope to be in the ground this fall some time,” said Robert Daigle, cofounder of Southern Lifestyle Development, of Lafayette, which will build the upscale development, called Conway Plantation, on La. 44 just south of Interstate 10 in Gonzales.

Formerly the cattle ranch of the late Merritt P. Evans, the property now will be home to retail stores, apartments, homes, parks, lakes and a green civic space, where events like concerts and art shows will be held free to the public, the developer has said.

The property, the largest tract of undeveloped land in the city, was purchased Tuesday morning from the heirs of M.P. Evans and Ruth Walker Evans, said Gary Binns, associate broker with Realty Executives South Louisiana Group of Prairieville, which represented the heirs to the estate.

In April, the Gonzales City Council approved the rezoning requests brought by Southern Lifestyle Development for the property.

The former M.P. Evans property was annexed into Gonzales in 2012. In 2011, the Ascension Parish School Board bought 63 acres of the ranch for $1.5 million as the site of a future high school.

Southern Lifestyle Development plans to build a road connecting Conway Plantation to the School Board’s property.

The development company also has said it plans to build another northbound lane, on its property along La. 44, to the interstate.

Southern Lifestyle Development has said it expects to invest a total of about $325 million in the Conway Plantation project, in the construction of buildings, street construction, and installation of drainage and water lines.

The company’s other developments include River Ranch in Lafayette and Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville near Lafayette.

The company also is developing The Settlement on Shoecreek, a 150-acre property off Sullivan Road in Central.

Because of its new projects in Gonzales and Central, the Southern Lifestyle Development company opened an office in downtown Baton Rouge in December.

The company also has other projects, in different phases of development, in Lake Charles, Sulphur, Bossier City and Monroe.

Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.