Development around the Cabela’s outdoor superstore in Gonzales, which had been hampered by the national recession and high land prices, has picked up in recent months.
Construction is under way on two hotels — a La Quinta Inn and a Comfort Suites — near the intersection of Interstate 10 and La. 30. A Logan’s Roadhouse restaurant is being built, and land is under contract to build an 11,000-square-foot shopping center, half of which will be occupied by a locally owned Chinese restaurant, said Nick FaKouri, one of the developers of property around Cabela’s.
FaKouri said two factors are driving the increased activity.
“The economy has gotten better and we reduced land prices,” he said.
When FaKouri started selling land near Cabela’s in 2007 for a Hampton Inn and a Town Place Suites, property was going for $13 to $15 per square foot. Then Don’s Seafood paid $24 a foot for its site, and FaKouri and other land owners started charging more.
“We got too proud of land prices,” FaKouri said.
That led to the hotels, the seafood restaurant and a pair of fast food chains being about the only things on the land around Cabela’s. Meanwhile, the competing Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs was booming, surrounded by sit-down restaurants, a strip shopping center and a Sam’s Club warehouse store.
Now, FaKouri said, prices have leveled off around $15 a square foot for the most recent transactions.
“This is a market where land prices should be in the mid-teens,” he said.
The growth of the petrochemical industry along the Mississippi River is driving the hotel construction, said David Luparello. Luparello is one of the principal owners of the 60-room La Quinta, set to open in the first few months of 2013. He’s also owner of Dapco Ventures, the construction firm building the hotel.
“The petrochemical business generates a lot of room nights,” he said.
Luparello, who owns part of two other La Quintas in south Louisiana, said he expects
the Gonzales location will do well.
“This area is kind of close to Baton Rouge and New Orleans,” he said. “We feel like our brand will be a good fit, because La Quinta does not have good representation here.”