Construction crews have begun moving dirt to make way for a new Sprouts supermarket at Rouzan, the 100-acre Traditional Neighborhood Development on Perkins Road in Southdowns.
John Engquist, who acquired Rouzan earlier this year from its original developer, Tommy Spinosa, says construction is essentially underway on the long-awaited supermarket, which will be nearly 30,000 square feet and anchor the 4.43-acre Rouzan Village Center
The East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission approved plans in May to allow construction to begin on the Sprouts—which will be the first Louisiana location of the upscale, Arizona-based grocery store chain. It is scheduled for a spring 2019 opening.
More recently, the Planning Commission at its meeting Monday approved plans for Rouzan’s 1,000-square-foot recreation center, which will include a clubhouse and swimming pool. Engquist says construction on the facility will begin as soon as building permits are secured.
“We are working hard to get the amenities that the residents were always promised,” Engquist says.
The amenities have been a long time coming. Since Spinosa first started planning Rouzan in the mid-2000s, the community was promised an upscale retail center, recreational space, and civic facilities like a library. But Spinose was never able to deliver on those promises, even after residential construction began to take off. Then, in 2017, he lost his financing after his lender was shut down by the feds.
In January, Engquist and developer Charles Landry acquired ownership of all but two small parcels on the property. In the months since, they have begun to get Rouzan back on track, including securing a deal with the Library Board to build a long-awaited south branch at the TND.
That deal continues to move forward, though is still in the early stages. The library board recently got an appraisal that reflects favorably on the $1.5 million deal Enquist and Landry are offering for the 1.75-acre parcel. Library Director Spencer Watts says the next step is to negotiate a purchase agreement, which must first be approved by the board and then the Metro Council. Design work on what is expected to be a $7 million branch, could begin after that.