A national supermarket chain has signed a lease to build a roughly 30,000-square-foot grocery store in Rouzan, the Traditional Neighborhood Development in Southdowns. While Rouzan developer Charles Landry confirms the lease, he cannot not disclose the identity of the store just yet.
Though the announcement comes less than a month after Landry and businessman John Engquist acquired Rouzan from its original developer, Tommy Spinosa, Landry and Engquist do not own the 4.4-acre parcel fronting Perkins Road on which the new grocery store will be built. Rather, Spinosa retained that parcel, as well as a one-acre residential lot in the rear of the development, and will be the grocery store’s developer and landlord.
“Engquist-Rouzan Commercial Development LLC was happy to have … Spinosa retain the grocery store tract because there was already a signed lease for the grocery store, which we encouraged and supported,” Landry says. “Building plans for the grocery store are under review by the city-parish.”
Late last month, Spinosa filed an updated final development plan for Rouzan with the Planning Commission that will allow for the grocery store and its 219 parking spaces, as well as a 19,000-square-foot commercial building that Landry says would be ideal for a restaurant tenant or two.
Landry cannot say for sure when the supermarket chain will make a formal announcement or break ground. But he says it is one of several promising developments for the TND since the new ownership group took over.
“This is the beginning of everything we had been hoping for Rouzan,” Landry says. “Tommy had been negotiating this for well over a year and he has gotten it totally finalized, so this is very positive.”
Spinosa had talked for years about landing an anchor tenant for the 32-acre commercial portion of Rouzan and at one point had a letter of intent with Alamo Drafthouse, a movie theater chain. After those plans fell through, he began working to attract a grocery store and was close to finalizing a deal in 2017, when his lender on the project, First National Bank of Commerce, was shut down by the feds, leaving him unable to so much as execute a lease or a purchase agreement.
Engquist and Landry acquired all of the 65-acre residential portion of the development, and 28 of the 32 commercial acres in the development. Landry says their team is already working on its commercial development business plan for the 28 acres of commercial property it owns, though it could be several months before any deals with tenants are in place.
In the meantime, Rouzan-Engquist Development has retained well-known TND architect Steve Oubre to design a community pool, club house, garden and fitness course for Rouzan, all of which will be completed or substantially completed by the end of the year, Landry says.
Oubre’s Architects Southwest helped design what is arguably Louisiana’s most successful TND, River Ranch in Lafayette. Closer to home, the firm has done work on the Americana TND in Zachary, also owned by Engquist and Landry.