The Advocate

ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Economic Development Director Randy Rogers was understandably disappointed when Tropical Storm Cindy forced the cancellation of the official unveiling of the parish’s proposed industrial park site.

But the rain didn’t dampen his enthusiasm about the potential for the nearly 1,300-acre site at the southern end of West Feliciana Parish. A total of 547 acres was recently certified by Louisiana Economic Development.

LED certified sites are development ready industrial sites with more than 25 acres. Certification is granted after an extensive application process and exhaustive review. The benefits include official acknowledgement of a site’s readiness in the site selection process. The review process is conducted by an independent, third party engineering firm.

Louisiana Economic Development has 82 certified sites in roughly half of the state’s 64 parishes and ranks No. 2 in the nation for total certified sites.

The ribbon-cutting scheduled for June 22 may have been postponed due to the weather, but the marketing of West Feliciana’s Industrial Park has already begun.

“This puts us in the ballgame, it’s the biggest thing since the nuclear plant,” Rogers said. “What this means is the due diligence on this property has already been done. It has clear title, a wetlands assessment has been completed, the soil has been examined and it’s zoned for industrial usage.”

He said a cultural assessment to determine any historical significance has also been completed. LED and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber have already started helping with the marketing of the property, Rogers said.

“We’ve had some interest in the property both from the local Baton Rouge region from existing businesses as well as from across the state,” Rogers said. “There have been some international prospects that have looked at the acreage and I hope they follow up with us.”

The land is available to be sold either in total or Rogers said it can be subdivided into parcels as little as five acres.

“Economic development is not something that happens overnight,” he said. “Even the small parcels will require an investment of over a million dollars. Some of the larger industrial plants require well over half a billion. What is significant about this is officially, the state (LED) and the region (BRAC) will be proactive in the promotion of this site and as they get inquiries from prospects globally, this one will go to the top of the list.

“There’s a big plus having them market this site because sitting in front of them (prospects) can be a very expensive endeavor. It’s nice to have partners to help market day in and day out. They’ve indicated this is one of the premier sites in the state and that’s how they will be marketing it.”

With so many sites certified across the state, economic development is a competitive game. Rogers believes the West Feliciana Industrial Park has a number of things going for it.