St. Tammany could have a 200-hundred foot tall building in the parish within the next decade. The Zoning Commission approved plans last night to rezone an 161 acre business park at the intersection of I-12 and LA Highway 1088 to allow for buildings as tall as 200 feet, in an effort to diversify the parish’s revenue streams.
If a firm were to build to the allowed height, roughly twenty stories, it would be the tallest building in the parish, more than twice the height of the current tallest buildings, which are around sixty to seventy feet tall.
The plans for the park have been in place for 12 years, but have been delayed as the north shore developed over the last decade. Commissioner Martha Cazaubon said that the project is “a blank slate that we would get to design now”.
The Zoning Commission hopes that the project will stimulate a local economy that Commissioner Bill Matthews said is primarily a “bedroom community”. He said that the parish needs to develop new sources of revenue and to create a sustainable local economy.
Some concerns were voiced about the project. Local resident Carlo Hernandez questioned why the business park would allow for industrial activities with a residential area right across the highway. The Commission also discussed possible problems involving parking for a compound that would be nearly 250,000 square feet.
Planning Director Sydney Fontenot said that the industrial activities would pertain only to logistics, and not to heavy industry. He said that zoning for logistics and office buildings would be more attractive to firms looking to establish a corporate headquarters in St. Tammany Parish.
While the plans would allow for buildings as tall as 200 feet, there are no guarantees that a firm would build to that height. If built the tallest building would face the highway while the logistics and warehouse buildings would fill the remaining acreage behind.
The Zoning Commission has high hopes for the project, but acknowledged that it could take over a decade to see the development through. While the wait may be long, Commissioner Bill Matthews said that the project is “something the parish needs”. The acreage is owned by private firm The Azby Fund.
The commission was unanimous in its decision to ok the project, passing it 9-0.