With 11 hotels already and three more on the way, is the Livingston Parish market nearing its saturation point?
Back in February, newly minted Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry made what some would consider a rather surprising announcement at a meeting of the Livingston Board of Realtors. It seemed that three new hotels simultaneously could be on the way to his city.
Of the three, perhaps the most intriguing was a possible 12-story, $70 million mixed-use project that could include about five floors of hotel rooms, along with offices, a restaurant and a theater. If built at that height, it would be the tallest structure in the parish.
In an interview with Business Report early this summer, Landry said all three projects were still in the works, although building officials had not yet received paperwork for any of them. Which raises the obvious question: Can Denham Springs really support three new hotels?
“I scratch my head,” says Wesley Moore, a commercial real estate appraiser and market analyst, when asked what might be driving the new hotel development.
The parish boasts 11 lodging options, mostly bargain hotels but also fancier choices like The Villas at Carter Plantation, according to the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce website. Moore points out that neighboring Ascension Parish is undergoing an industrial expansion, so new hotels might be needed there, but he couldn’t think of any solid reason that would justify a hotel-building spurt in Livingston Parish.
Neil Patel—whose company, Triumph Investment Group, developed a Hampton Inn and a Days Inn in Denham Springs and is building a Best Western Plus in Walker—says Denham Springs probably has enough hotel rooms.
“Baton Rouge is where our anchor is,” Patel says. “This is a sub-market. We can’t support too many hotels in Denham Springs.”
But obviously, given the new project in Walker, Patel believes there’s still room for more hotels elsewhere in Livingston Parish. Rather than naming any one particular market sector driving the demand, he cites the overall economic growth of the area, naming companies such as Our Lady of the Lake, Bercen and Shaw Sunland [now CB&I Walker].