re: Development off of Bluebonnet ExtPosted by Ex-Popcorn on 2/7/12 at 11:15 am to BallyHOO
It's a section of Wampold's Longwood Plantation called the Village of Longue Vue. 100 acres. 300 homes.
"It didn’t take long for developers to capitalize on the new growth potential of the vacant land in the vicinity of Bluebonnet and Nicholson once those corridors were connected.
One of the first to buy up land in that area was Mike Wampold, known for office developments City Plaza, II City Plaza, Chase Tower, Chase North Tower, as well as multifamily residential projects like Crescent at University Lake. He’s also responsible for the redevelopment of the former Jimmy Swaggart Bible College dormitory on Bluebonnet into the 256-room Renaissance Hotel, which is scheduled to open by September.
In 2005, Wampold paid $11.8 million for 525 acres straddling the Bluebonnet extension, with frontage on Nicholson. Four years later, he partnered with friend and fellow developer John Fetzer to buy 350 acres nearby for $5 million. The two later acquired 600 acres of adjoining land, most of it wetlands.
Wampold has an ambitious master plan for his initial 525 acres, called Longwood Plantation. The mixed-use development includes commercial, residential and retail components, as well as a community center, church and school. The first phase will feature residential, he says, adding that he doesn’t intend on moving too fast on implementing the plan. He estimates that it could take as long as a decade to see the entire project to fruition.
“We’re creating the concept for a whole new city,” says Wampold, who describes himself as a “vertical developer” to date. “I mean, it really is a whole city, and I haven’t done that before. So all I know is go slow, do it one piece at a time and do it well, just like we’ve done our other projects.”
The first phase of Wampold’s plan could break ground this year and will be complete by the end of 2012, he says. The Village of Longue Vue will be a 100-acre subdivision of about 300 homes on the south side of Bluebonnet, adjacent to the established Fairhill neighborhood.
“I see us continuing with residential development until there’s enough critical mass of rooftops out there to justify a nice commercial development,” he says. “We’re going to take our time, and we’re not going to force it. You have to develop the market.”
Wampold expects to take his plan for the first phase to the Planning Commission in March. Floor plans for single-family homes measure from 1,850 to 2,500 square feet and include such amenities as 11-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and granite countertops. He estimates the homes will range from $285,000 to $375,000, or what he calls “the sweet spot” for attracting buyers in the current economy.
“Part of what I think is driving the growth in Baker, Zachary and Central areas is the affordability of the homes being built there,” he says. “Well, guess what? We’re bringing it right to their backyard, and we’ll compete with them point-wise. Plus, we’ll offer better access to downtown, LSU, Perkins Rowe, the Mall of Louisiana and the hospitals.”
As Longwood Plantation is being developed, Wampold says, he and Fetzer will work on a master plan for their 350-acre parcel, to be called Burtville Plantation, and likely will take it to the Planning Commission sometime in 2012. The remaining 600 acres of wetlands to the east of their developable land will be left as a low-density wilderness area, he says, with a variety of recreation options for subdivision residents."