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Tri-Parish Times/Business News
New projects Complete Sugar Mill development

May 25, 2005

Sugar Mill at Olde Towne and Mandalay Wood are two new developments along Valhi that are designed to be signature statements accenting Houma's steady growth long the Highway 311 corridor.

Terrebonne Parish Director of Economic Development Pat Gordon says the developments are in response to growth the area has experienced over the last decade.

“The area has experienced steady growth in last 10 years with the completion of the civic center and library in 1995,” he says. “Several new subdivisions and the four-laning of St. Charles Street has also helped area growth with new infrastructure. As a result, we see this area as a major residential growth area.

“We are experiencing the highest rate of growth in Terrebonne parish along this corridor.”

Along with the tremendous growth comes a need of additional housing, and both these developments contribute to fill that need in the Houma area.

According to Thibodaux developer and builder Lee Rutter, Sugar Mill at Olde Towne will be a planned unit development designed for mixed use in a traditional town setting.

Rutter says Olde Town is designed to be a “town within a town” with “walkable neighborhoods with lots of trees as well as stores mixed in with homes and condominiums so residents “don't have to hop in their car” to get necessities.

Olde Towne will also include common green spaces to recreate as well as traditional homes, condominiums and high-density homes (garden homes) similar to those found in the New Orleans French Quarter.

“All structures will be built in the styles of local architecture of South Louisiana including those found in the French Quarter, as well as plantation, Spanish, French and Creole architecture,” Rutter says. “It will be very upscale with parking in the rear of homes and businesses by incorporating alleys. When people walk from place to place there will be few cars on the streets in the mixed use neighborhood.”

Rutter says the concept for this type of neighborhood is not new concept, but a twist on planning from the 1950s and 1960s when many people walked to get from place to place.

Planning began when his daughter, Courtney went to college at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She wanted to buy a condo in a similar development in Lafayette, River Ranch, and Rutter says he thought the concept of a new urban development would also work well in Houma.

“I was intrigued by the layout,” he says. “I thought this would be prime type of development for Houma and the right location on Valhi came up in 2003.”

After finding desirable property at a cost of $5 million, the concept was presented to the planning and zoning commission in 2004 and was warmly accepted by that board.

“The good thing about Houma Planning and Zoning is they have zoning conducive to this type of development,” Rutter says. “We can live within their rules because they had foresight to see this new type of development coming to the area.”

Engineer David Waites says the construction will be done in phases and work has just begun two to three weeks ago. Infrastructure is expected to be completed with the next 30 to 60 days and then will go to Planning and Zoning for approval within another 30 days.

Plans were recently approved near the end of 2004 and construction has begun with the laying of infrastructure such as waterlines and drains.

The entire project will consist of 200 homes, 70 condos and retail space at a total estimated cost of $50 million to $75 million and Rutter predicts the development will raise property values throughout Valhi area.

Abell and Crozier Architects of Lafayette, who worked on River Ranch in Lafayette, is also providing architecture services for this project.

Another subdivision on Valhi near Hollywood Road is Mandalay Woods.

This subdivision is planned to include 22 to 24 first phase single-family lots with a second phase planned for the future.

Waites says this is the first development in the wooded area and this project will be similar to Westgate and surrounding developments and will involve the construction of traditional homes.

There will be one small boulevard that will serve as an ingress/egress for the subdivision and this project also received engineering approval in late 2004.

Infrastructure construction began shortly thereafter.

Waites says he expects the first phase of Mandalay Woods to be completed in 60 to 90 days, when the property will be ready to constructing homes.

$250,000 was invested to buy the property, which is located about a quarter mile from the intersection of Valhi and Hollywood.

The first phase of construction is expected to cost about $444,000. The cost of the entire project is expected to cost about $1 million.

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