Yesterday afternoon, LCG released interesting information about a planned, new 208-unit public-private residential complex for Downtown Lafayette that would include a new, to-be-constructed, city-owned parking garage. The new development, if all goes well, will be located at the corner of Lee Avenue & Convent Street, directly adjacent to Rock ’n’ Bowl.
— Here are the quick & dirty takeaways for those short on reading time:
• Blancher plans to develop a 208-residential unit complex with a city-owned parking garage in downtown Lafayette, which will include city-owned property currently occupied by Lafayette City Court and the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office, as well as adjoining parcels owned by Blancher.
• The project is a public-private partnership aimed at expanding residential and mixed-use development opportunities and is in line with the Downtown Lafayette Action Plan and with urban planning experts’ recommendations.
• The project is expected to increase downtown’s residential life and benefit downtown residents, workers, and visitors.
• The project is a great example of private developers investing in the district and collaborating with the local government to benefit both parties and enhance the Quality of Life in the area.
• The project is subject to several important steps that need to be finalized for the future success of the public-private partnership.
• If all goes well, the project could show significant progress within 3-5 years or less.
— The Deeper Dive:
Johnny Blancher, owner-operator of the well-known downtown entertainment venue Rock ’n’ Bowl, and the Lafayette City Government are in the planning stages to make the new development happen on the corner of Convent Street & Lee Avenue in Downtown Lafayette. The site, according to the release, is inclusive of city-owned property where Lafayette City Court and the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office currently operate and several adjoining parcels owned by Blancher.
Funding for a new Downtown Parking garage and other much-needed infrastructure has already been allocated, according to a statement shown below by Mayor-President Josh Guillory.
“This project is a prime example of a public-private partnership,” says Mayor-President Josh Guillory. “I appreciate Mr. Blancher’s interest in investing in downtown Lafayette. Combining the strength of the public sector with the power of the private sector allows us to increase our efficiency, provide better services, and retain public assets for those we serve.” The Mayor-President added he is grateful to City Council members who approved funding for a downtown parking garage and much overdue downtown infrastructure needs in the Fiscal Year 2021-2022.
Johnny and his family moved to Lafayette when they began to bring Rock ’n’ Bowl to Lafayette several years ago. Since then, he has had a strong desire to help improve the city that he now calls home including a more vibrant, walkable downtown. “The support for downtown by this administration, and the understanding of what makes all of Lafayette a better community is truly apparent. For our local shops and retail storefronts to thrive downtown, residential growth is the key,” says Blancher.
Downtown Development Authority CEO Anita Begnaud says that the new residential development is in line with the Downtown Lafayette Action Plan and with urban planning experts who for years have expressed to city leaders the importance of public-private partnerships that expand residential and mixed-use development opportunities. “We’ve been working toward moments like this for nearly a decade. Providing high-quality city living options moves us forward in the DDA’s mission to create and sustain a vibrant downtown not only for our residents but also to compete as a region for jobs and professional talent. After months of confidential conversations and planning, it’s exciting this new development is coming to fruition.”
Mandi Mitchell, LEDA President & CEO had this to say, “I am happy to see another catalytic investment in downtown Lafayette from Johnny Blancher. This project is a great example of a private developer investing in the district and collaborating with local government to benefit both parties and downtown residents, workers, and visitors. Additional residential development has been an ongoing goal for DDA and more parking availability is always needed—this public-private partnership addresses both. Investments, such as this, from the private sector, give LEDA leverage in further enhancing and improving the Quality of Life and fueling our talent attraction efforts for Lafayette Parish.”
“Our cooperation with Mayor Guillory and his administration will not only create parking for residents but also will give a lifeline for hundreds of businesses and property owners in the Downtown area. Our project will be built with beauty in mind. Other parking structures are eyesores, just drab parking structures,” says Blancher.
Parish Council District 5 Councilman A.B. Rubin says that the parking garage will complement the newly renovated, reopened parish-owned Buchanan Parking Garage. “This development is a great opportunity to increase housing and much-needed parking in the downtown area.”
According to Josh Guillory, many other important steps have to fall in place for the future success of the public-private partnership, including relocating the Lafayette City Court and Marshal’s offices. “While we have several steps that will need to be finalized, the progress thus far is promising,” says Guillory.
In talking with Johnny this morning, I wanted to provide our followers with some sort of timeline of when we could expect this project to be moving forward. The short answer is that there are still several red tapes to cut through but, we could expect significant progress within the next 3-5 years.