LCG permit inspector Larry Manuel at The Reserve at Acadiana, where work has stopped.
Photo by Robin May
The credit crunch gripping the nation has skidded to a halt one of the largest commercial construction projects in Lafayette. The Reserve at Acadiana is a huge apartment complex going up adjacent to the Mall of Acadiana. Or it was going up hammer and tongs until recently. The project stalled this fall. “Well all of a sudden, we were in the middle of inspections, and we hadn’t heard from these people and we stopped by a couple of times, and they were pretty tight-lipped about it,” says Larry Manuel, Lafayette Consolidated Government’s permits inspector.
The complex is owned by Baton Rouge-based Peek-Howe Real Estate Inc. and is being built by PHL Construction LLC. The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office lists Arthur Lancaster as the PHL’s manager and Robert Peek and Lacy Howe as its members.
The Reserve at Acadiana is slated to be a 276-unit apartment complex consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with rental rates ranging from $950-$1,495 per month. The project was valued at nearly $15 million. Construction was halted due to “a slowdown in funding because of the credit crisis,” says Lancaster. He says funding is now back in order, and construction should start after the first of the year.
While smaller projects stop and start, says Manuel, this is by far the largest project to come to a halt. Before construction recommences, Manuel says several concerns need to be addressed. While the walls and roof are up, windows and doors have not been installed in all the units, siding hasn’t been completed, and there are places where black felt paper hasn’t been installed, leaving plywood exposed. Rain poured in the openings during some of the recent storms in Acadiana. “I’m concerned about the structural integrity of the wood that’s been exposed to the weather,” says Manuel. There are issues with mold and mildew contamination as well. Manuel says the city will require a mold remediation certificate before construction can resume.
Barring any unusual weather, Lancaster says he is confident the project will be complete in six months, by late July.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.