Construction on Juban Crossing set to begin

Juban Crossing officials announced Thursday that a Belk department store will be part of the long-awaited mixed-use development and construction on the project should begin in the coming days.

Officials are moving forward with the development after completing financing earlier this week, Creekstone said in a news release.

Livingston Parish clerk of court records show Juban Crossing officials signed a more than $32 million mortgage with Regions Bank on Oct. 17 for the project, in addition to a mortgage loan of about $46 million from International Bank of Commerce in Houston signed Oct. 18.

Crews with Block Construction in Baton Rouge will move heavy equipment onto the site by next week to prepare for horizontal construction, which includes underground utilities, clearing and grading, and subsurface drainage, along with some electrical work, Creekstone said.

Creekstone spokeswoman Rebecca Rainer said most of the heavy equipment will be moved Monday.

Hoar Construction will begin construction on a number of the retail spaces shortly thereafter.

Creekstone also announced that Belk, a national clothing and apparel store, has signed up to open a store in Juban Crossing. This will be the first Belk store in the capital region.

Other planned retailers include Rouses supermarket, T.J. Maxx, Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, Ulta Beauty, Shoe Carnival and Old Navy.

The Juban Crossing project, which will cover about 1.2 million square feet total, will be built in three phases, with stores in the first phase expected to open in October 2014, Creekstone said.

Also included in plans for Juban Crossing are a movie theater, national chain restaurants and a drug store.

Developers estimate Juban Crossing will cost about $350 million but will generate about $22 million in tax collections over 25 years and about 1,500 jobs in construction alone.

Juban Crossing traces back to 2005, when Creekstone approached landowners about building a mixed-use development off Juban Road and I-12, between Denham Springs and Walker in Livingston Parish.

Juban Crossing was interrupted in 2007 after the economy took a turn for the worse, developer Stephen Keller has said, but it regained momentum in 2010 when the bonds purchased for the project began generating interest again.

Crews broke ground on the project in 2011, but it stalled once more after officials determined more money would be necessary for the project to reach the same level of quality as originally planned.

After several failed attempts at finding government funds to pay off borrowing costs, Keller said the project would move forward without the additional revenue.