1,400-acre development community in Destrehan announced

Washington, D.C., developer plans residential, commercial, industrial

Fueled by the right recipe of good business climate, interest rates and consumer confidence, a 1,400-acre community development by a Washington, D.C., attorney will soon begin construction in St. Charles Parish.

“There has been a pent-up demand that is being realized at this point,” said Joey Murray, of Murray Architects of Destrehan, who is designing the multi-phase, multi-component Destrehan project. “We also see a lot of industry that is locating here, which is driving jobs and creating more demand.”

Murray is talking about Destrehan Plantation Estates, which is expected to include an estimated 250 lots on nearly 100 acres when complete, with the final number depending on demand and lot sizes. The Parish Council recently cleared the way for 30 lots, which he expects to break ground on in the next 60 days and complete construction by end of this year.

The application for the second phase, expected to include 200 to 225 lots, will be submitted in the next 60 days, he said. If approved, he anticipates starting construction on the second phase by end of this year.

Average lot size in the subdivision will be 90 feet by 160 feet.

The main street name for the project is still being discussed, but Murray said he’s been told no more plantation names to ensure a more distinctive identity. Tentatively, Audubon Place or Audubon Trace are names being discussed for it.

Murray declined to provide a dollar investment amount for the overall project, but he did say Gary Silversmith, an environmental attorney, is developing the community. He added, Silversmith “ … intends to pull all 1,400 aces into commerce.”

Described as a “quasi-developer,” Murray said Silversmith approached him about the project in February of last year. Murray went to Washington to interview for the job and he was chosen from several people to design the project.    “Residential has to come first before any commercial development,” Murray said. “Without the rooftops to support commercial, beyond what St. Charles Parish has now, just won’t be forthcoming.”

Overall, project plans call for substantially more than residential, all in Destrehan, including retail and commercial space, as well as industrial warehousing.

Murray said the commercial development will include restaurants and retail, although he could not yet name them.The site sprawls from the I-310 bridge to ADM grain elevator, goes north to Airline Highway and then Ormond Plantation Estates, Murray said.

Murray said an estimated 60 acres of the site on Airline Highway will be dedicated to warehousing, as well as “M1 industrial uses” planned for another 200 acres. He described the location as north of the Canadian National Railway switchyard and Entergy power line right of way.

A wildlife refuge conservatory is also in the planning state between the KCS railroad and Entergy right of way, he said.Blake Murray, with Baron Real Estate in Destrehan, is doing most of the real estate brokerage on the site, Murray said.

“Location, location, location,” Murray said of why the parish was chosen for the development. “What makes St. Charles Parish special is its school system. We have a very progressive Council and parish president, and we have one of the best law enforcement teams we’ve ever seen with a great Sheriff Greg Champagne and great District Attorney Joel Chaisson.”


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