Buc-ee’s, the popular Texas rest stop chain that announced amid much fanfare earlier this year it planned to open its first location outside the Lone Star State at the Greens at Millerville, has decided not to go forward with the project after all.
Developer Windy Gladney says Buc-ee’s corporate office notified him late last week it was terminating its purchase agreement to buy the 15-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 12 and Millerville Road on which the mammoth rest stop was to have been developed.
“I’m sad for Baton Rouge,” says Gladney. “We did everything they needed, and everything was ready for them to go.”
Gladney says he is disappointed that so much time and effort went into trying to make the project happen, and frustrated that he can’t get a straight answer from Buc-ee’s officials as to why they decided not to move into Louisiana.
“They said they couldn’t get everything lined up in the state of Louisiana,” he says. “They’re trying to blame it on us. They’re playing their cards very close to their vest.”
Buc-ee’s did not return multiple calls and email requests today seeking comment. The company’s project engineer, Scott Ratcliff, reached by phone, would say only that, “the stars did not align in Louisiana” and declined to comment further.
Gladney says all the permits for the project had been secured, and Planning Commission officials confirm that all the project’s site plans had been approved. Gladney says he is not aware of any help the company may have been seeking from the state—tax abatements or tax increment financing, for instance.
“Any of that would have had to come through me,” he says. “They had everything they needed. They could have closed last week and gone to work. Everything was done and ready to go to construction.”
Gladney says he does not think the August flood—which inundated areas off Millerville Road just north of the planned Buc-ee’s site, though not the development itself—factored into the company’s decision.
Buc-ee’s would have been the anchor tenant at the Greens at Millerville, a mixed-use development that has been in the works for more than a decade. Like its other stores in Texas, the local Buc-ee’s would have been larger than any other rest stop in the area, with 90 fueling pumps and more than 60,000 square feet of retail space.
In April, Buc-ee’s owner and founder, Arch “Beaver” Aplin, told Daily Report the Greens at Millerville was an ideal location for the company’s first out-of-state location because of its demographic mix and traffic count.
Gladney says he hopes to sell the 15-acre tract to another user.