- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

AVONDALE, La. (AP) - Revised flood maps could aid a developer’s proposal to build on one of Jefferson Parish’s last large undeveloped tracts.

Lafayette-based Southern Lifestyle Development says it’s in talks to buy 2,000 acres in Avondale, near the TPC of Louisiana golf course and Bayou Segnette State Park.

Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1J0GMns) that upcoming federal flood map revisions are likely to require less elevation of new structures in the area because of improved levees and pumping stations.

“It’s one of the areas where we’ve seen the greatest improvement in the parish,” said Michelle Gonzales, Jefferson’s floodplain director. “We’ve seen a pretty drastic projection of the depth of water going down.”

Southern Lifestyle envisions commercial and residential buildings that could someday house 30,000 people. The Fairfield project would be almost six times as large as Southern Lifestyle’s flagship Lafayette development, the Village of River Ranch. The firm is building a number of other developments around Louisiana, although none as big as Fairfield.

Prescott Bailey, an area president at the development firm, said the company is meeting with the property’s multiple landowners and officials as it conducts early planning efforts. The Fairfield area has about 9,000 vacant acres overall.

“We’re looking at it as an opportunity to essentially create a small city that would have different products for everyone: all types of commercial, all types of multi-family, as well as single-family,” Bailey said. He also said it would include large green spaces, reducing some of the development’s density.

Some of the area’s appeal lies in the fact that it already has substantial anchors to attract residents and others: the TPC Louisiana golf course, NOLA Motorsports, Churchill Farms Technology and Business Park and Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy. Delgado Community College is building its $27 million River City Campus at the technology park, offering training for the maritime industry.

In December 2005, KB Home of Los Angeles and the Shaw Group of Baton Rouge announced plans for as many as 20,000 condominiums, townhouses and single-family houses, as well as retail stores on 3,000 acres in the Churchill Farms area. A year later, KB Home let its contract to buy the land expire, with an attorney for the property owner blaming the downturn in the national housing market and KB Home’s declining share price.

Jefferson Parish President John Young said he expects a deal could be finalized by June. He described the project as potentially “transformative” for the West Bank, a way to attract people who might otherwise move to St. Tammany Parish.

“We find a lot of people leaving and going across the lake for a different kind of lifestyle,” Young said. “But we can give them that kind of lifestyle in Jefferson.”

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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