Four months after the developers behind Pointe-Marie nixed plans for a 40-acre RV lot on the 120-acre site, they’re pouring money into community structures in an effort to attract more homebuyers.
There isn’t a timeline for when the first phase of the Traditional Neighborhood Development—located on River Road about a quarter of a mile upriver from L’Auberge Casino—is supposed to wrap. But the central focus of Phase One is the residential component, which takes up two-thirds of the space.
Project consultant Chris Kent says they’re currently using community events to engage the 10 families who moved in since August, after funneling some $2.5 million into operational “downtown” structures. Those include a 1,000-square-foot pavilion, demonstration kitchen, 1,000-square-foot bandstand and pavillion for Magpie Cafe, which became a permanent tenant this week, with an informal, but long-term lease arrangement.
“We created a schedule of regular events happening, and we’re working with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge on those events,” says Kent, who helped develop the Seaside community in Florida. “We’ve added weekly specialty dinners, live music and author readings, all to create a sense of community early on with the property.”
It’s translated to sales volume, Kent says, with residents coming to the events to scope out the community before committing to a purchase.
Altogether, 39 lots have been sold in the past 16 months, with another seven under contract or with signed letters of intent. Of those sold, 38 are in the Central Square residential component, leaving 40 lots available.
“An appraisal we had done pre-construction anticipated that, in Central Square, we would’ve only sold 27 by now,” says Nicholas Vlahos of Vlahos Solutions, another consultant on the project.
The other lot that sold is in Village Estates, which also has three under contract or with a letter of intent. The 27 total estate lots range in size from 6,000 and 8,000 square feet.
Other than Magpie, there are no retail tenants, though Kent says “interest is high.”