Large, long-stalled development south of LSU 'back on track'

Large, long-stalled development south of LSU 'back on track'

A Metairie-based developer is hoping to move forward with a 600-acre, environmentally friendly, mixed-use development on River Road south of LSU. Charles Lambert, the property owner and developer, is awaiting approval from regulators to start clearing the site for the Village at Riverwood, which could ultimately include 1,550 homes.

Lambert says he hopes to start developing the property, which he purchased in 1992, by early next year. About 130 acres between Elbow Bayou and River Road would be developed as part of the first phase, including residential lots and some commercial space.

In addition to full-size homes, the draft plan filed with the Planning Commission also details more compact town and garden homes. Lambert says the project has been on hold for at least five years as market conditions slumped. But, he says, the Baton Rouge economy looks strong and "we're back on track."

Plans call for a pedestrian-friendly urban village with 200,000 square feet of retail space and 18,000 square feet for restaurants. The project also would include about 100,000 square feet of office space. With a focus on minimizing environmental impacts, the project also would include more than 180 acres of green space, including parks and sports fields, as well as a series of lakes and ponds "to detain storm water and replace vegetation that was removed during construction."

Lambert says the property will be more residential and less commercial than Perkins Rowe. He says his focus is to keep the property convenient to residents, even bringing in a small grocery store so that residents "don't have to drive off every time they need groceries." Lambert would not discuss the estimated cost for the project.

Lambert previously received approval for the development from the Planning Commission, but it has since expired. The commission will consider his application for reapproval on July 15.

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