Port Marigny Project – Mandeville

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The first views of the mixed use Port Marigny Project in Mandeville were released this week.   The project involves converting the 78-acre pre-stress concrete site on the Mandeville’s lakefront into a residential and commercial community. The Mandeville City Council should have a final vote on the project by the end of the year. The main concern so far seems to be increased traffic.

Residential plans call for 192 apartments,  57 cottages,  52 single-family village homes,  52 townhouses,  48 single-family neighborhood homes,  28 condominium units.

Commercial improvements will include a 120-room hotel adjacent to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway along with a marina with 150 boats slips able to accommodate boats of up to 55 feet.  There would be also be 60,000 square-feet of retail and office space.

New Legislation Causes Wetland Mitigation Cost to Rise

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The I-12 Corridor has seen a glut of new developments over the past two years. The majority of these developments include single-family residential subdivisions as housing demand has returned from the lows during the national recession. Wetland mitigation is a barrier and has always been a costly and timely expense.

In December 2014, State Representative Steve Scalise stated, “The Modified Charleston Method (MCM) is a radical environmental regulation that stunts economic development in Louisiana.” This method was used by the New Orleans Army Corps of Engineers to determine the number of credits needed for wetland mitigation purposes. In some instances, the MCM increased wetland cost from $6,000 per acre to over $40,000 per acre and made many south Louisiana developments such as single-family subdivisions not financially feasible.

In 2015, Legislation was passed to ban the MCM and the deadline to find a replacement assessment is September 30, 2015. The New Orleans District’s plan to address this revision consist of two phases: Interim Assessment Protocol and Long-Term Assessment Protocol. The Interim Assessment utilizes a Ratio Matrix to determine the appropriate compensatory mitigation for wetland impacts. The matrix is based on the habitat quality of impacted wetlands (low to high) and the type of mitigation (re-establishment, rehabilitation, and enhancement).

According to Mr. Mike Henry with Hydrik Wetland Consulting in Hammond, Louisiana, this interim model has more than doubled the mitigation cost. The Army Corps of Engineers typically rate all forested sites as a high habitat quality and the cost is currently over $80,000 per acre in the St. Tammany mitigation bank.

While this is only the interim cost, Mr. Henry did believe a new model will ultimately lower mitigation cost. But this cost is unknown at this time. The Army Corps long-term assessment noted, “Agency coordination and public input will be key components in the path forward to establishing an assessment method to replace the Modified Charleston Method.”

We will have to wait until September 30, 2015 to determine if wetland mitigation and economic development can coexist.

– Ashton W. Ray,  MAI

 

New Business Park Planned in Covington at I-12 and 190

 

 

versaillesGulf States Real Estate Services has completed the acquisition land needed to develop the Versailles Business Park in Covington. Developers are planning 16 different lots, which will include residential, medical offices and hospitals. The 2 parcels needed for the park were recently acquired and one of the lots has already been sold to Honda of Covington. The construction of the infrastructure will begin shortly.

Congratulations Ashton!

Our own Ashton Ray has received the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute.  This is the highest designation in our profession. Crongrats!

mai        Ashton W. Ray,  MAI