Chemical Plant Expansions Make Gonzales Housing Boom Target

GONZALES, LA (AP) — Developers looking to cash in on a housing crunch created in the wake of industrial expansions in the chemical corridor have been eyeing Gonzales, with new subdivisions.

         The Advocate’s Ellyn Couvillion reports several subdivisions are in the works. Officials recently announced the development of 203 acres on Conway Plantation for single-family homes.

         Activity is also about to begin anew in the Edenborne Development on Louisiana Highway 44.

         Tommy Spinoza, with JTS, the managing partner for Edenborne, says plans call of the development of 100 acres for single-family homes.

         Spinoza says he expects construction on the homes to begin this year.

         Ascension and St. James parishes have seen a boom in industrial projects, including more than $350 million in expansions at BASF and a $1.1 billion construction project at Methanex, both in Geismar in Ascension Parish; a $2.1 billion expansion at CF Industries in Donaldsonville, in Ascension Parish; and a $1.85 billion Yuhuang Chemical methanol complex in St. James Parish.

         Ginger Maulden, vice chairwoman of the Ascension Council of Realtors and secretary-treasurer for the Greater Baton Rouge Board of Realtors, says that, according to Multiple Listing Service information, the inventory of new homes — including completed homes, proposed construction and those under construction — in Gonzales for April was a little over two months' worth.

         "Typically, there's a six-month supply of inventory" in a healthy market, said Maulden, who characterizes the housing market in Gonzales and Ascension Parish as a "seller's market."

         She said a strong draw for homebuyers with young children continues to be the Ascension Parish school district, one of the top-rated districts in the state.

         One of the new subdivisions in the works, Meadow Crossing, will be situated on approximately 29 acres.

         The developer, McCoy Property Holdings, of Denham Springs, came before the Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission in April for preliminary plat approval on its third filing of lots in the development.

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