Lafayette council to consider infrastructure work for proposed development

The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will consider a proposal to use public dollars for roads, intersection improvements and other infrastructure to ease the path for a planned 58-acre commercial development on vacant land at the high-traffic corner of Kaliste Saloom Road and Ambassador Caffery Parkway.

Ambassador Town Center would be anchored by Costco, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, Marshall’s and Home Goods, according to a marketing package for the project from the lead developer, Stirling Properties.

Deals are also being discussed with Nordstrom Rack, PetSmart and several restaurants, including Chuy’s, BJ’s Brewhouse, Panera Bread, Red Robin, Blaze Pizza and World of Beer, according to the information.

The site, which is close to River Ranch and just across Kaliste Saloom from another large retail center, is touted in marketing materials as boasting “a ridiculous 1-mile average income of $110K.”

The development, estimated at $90 million to $100 million, would total about 450,000 square feet of retail space, said Stirling Vice President of Development Townsend Underhill.

Underhill said construction is set begin by the end of 2014, assuming everything goes as planned, and the retail center could be open by fall 2015.

The measure before the council on Tuesday would open the door for discussions on an arrangement in which property taxes from the development would be used to pay for infrastructure in and around site, rather than flowing as revenue into the normal budget of local government.

The possible infrastructure listed in the resolution includes roads, intersection improvements, drainage improvements and utility lines.

Underhill said such large, high-end retail projects generally rely on some form of public assistance for infrastructure work to make them economically feasible.

“There is a gap in what the project can support,” he said.

He declined to specify how much money is being sought for the infrastructure.

“There are some rough figures, but we are not disclosing those at this time,” Underhill said.

He said the property tax used for infrastructure would be more than made up with sales tax revenue from the retail center, and the property taxes would return to city-parish government and other taxing bodies after the infrastructure is paid off.

Approval by the council is not required, and the resolution up for a vote Tuesday is essentially an effort to obtain the council’s blessing.

The nuts and bolts of the deal would be worked out by the Industrial Development Board.