The city of Gonzales seems to have developed an inherent knack for attracting the kind of developments that in one fell swoop, so to speak, push the city to another level.
The projects may come along once every couple of decades, but when they do, they make quite an impact.
Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales, which opened in 1993, has become a darling of shoppers in the region.
And, now, Edenborne, a “traditional neighborhood development,” a term that describes a project developed with both public and private spaces, its own little community, is taking shape on more than 400 acres near the southwest corner of Interstate 10 and La. 44.
As Terry Richey, co-chairman of the Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission, says, “The city is 10 square miles; to have the amount of things we have in it is unbelieveable.”
And that, in turn, has brought steady population growth to Gonzales. Between 1993 and today, the city’s population has grown by close to 30 percent, from approximately 7,800 in 1993 to about 10,000 today.
The Edenborne development, named after William Edenborn, who built the local railways in the last century, will have a main boulevard, a town square, retail, an office park and more than 400 single-family homes in a variety of stucco and brick styles, as well as multifamily units, according to the land-use plan submitted by the architect firm Remson Haley Herfin Architects of Baton Rouge.
There are several investors in the development, including Reggie Wayne, New Orleans native and NFL Indianapolis Colts wide receiver.
What’s particularly striking about the Edenborne development is what may be called its three major “anchors,” though they’re not retail:
- The new campus of River Parishes Community College is under construction at Edenborne. The community college plans to move from Sorrento to Gonzales this year.
- The site for the Gonzales location of Emerson Process Management, a business of Emerson, a Fortune 500 company, is being prepared across and down the main street of Edenborne from the community college.
The new Emerson facility will be a regional headquarters that will provide custom valve manufacturing operations for industry and also have a workforce training center. Expected to be completed this fall, it’s the first of its kind for the company in North America, according to an Emerson news release.
- An OSHA Training Institute Education Center will be completed this year, across the street from the community college.
The center, which will offer workforce training courses on standards of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a collaboration of the LSU College of Engineering and the Alliance Safety Council, based in Baton Rouge.
Early on in the zoning process for the Edenborne development, Mayor Barney Arceneaux and other city officials toured a similar development, Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville, near Lafayette.
On roughly 500 acres, Sugar Mill Pond offers shops, restaurants, an amphitheater and pond and boat rentals, according to its website, www.sugarmillpond.com.
Arceneaux said the residents are able to drive golf carts from their homes to any of the amenities they want to visit.
“We’re very excited about Edenborne,” Arceneaux said of the neighborhood development. “It brings so much to Gonzales.”
Farther down La. 44 from Edenborne, more development is coming. The M.P. Evans tract of more than 300 acres that’s now pasture has been rezoned for yet more retail and more homes.
Ellyn Couvillion covers Gonzales city government. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.