Neighborhood Tour
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Central Thruway spurs growth

The completion of the Central Thruway has increased the pace of commercial and residential development in the fast growing section of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Work on the first homes in Cypress Lakes, a 75 lot subdivision at the intersection of Sullivan Road and Sparkle Drive is set to begin later this month.

Homes in the development will start at about $280,000. Dwayne Gafford, of Gafford Builders, a company that is building houses in Cypress Lakes, said the development of the thruway has been “tremendous” since it gave Central better interstate access. “There are multiple avenues to get to Central from downtown Baton Rouge,” he said. “It’s huge to have multiple ways to get here.”

The four-lane road, which cost more than $64 million to build and was completed in summer 2013, stretches from Florida Boulevard to Sullivan Road. It also connects O’Neal Lane to Greenwell Springs Road, providing quicker access to Interstate 12.

Gafford is also building homes in the Settlement on Shoe Creek, a traditional neighborhood development under construction off Sullivan Road, across from the Wal-Mart Supercenter. Shoe Creek will eventually include 479 singlefamily homes spread across 154 acres, along with 100,000 square feet of retail space, neighborhood parks, walking/ biking trails, retailers including CC’s Coffee and UPS, and a town square.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data released in May, Central had 28,529 residents in 2016 and has seen its population increase by 6 percent since 2010.

“The thruway has connected us from one end to another and that’s a very good thing,” said Hunter Gerald, a broker with the Browning-Gerald Group.

Gerald is currently marketing three tracts of land along the Central Thruway. The largest tract, which is 15.5 acres, has an asking price of $1.8 million. The smallest, which is an acre, has a $675,000 price. All three tie into the red light at the intersection of the thruway and Lovett Road.

The land is being marketed for commercial use. “I don’t know who else is interested in coming to this area, but the land is available,” he said. Another tract that is available for commercial use is a 32.2 acre site at the intersection of Greenwell Springs Road and the thruway. That land was purchased two years ago by the sons and son-in-law of the late local auto dealer Price LeBlanc. They’re looking to sell the property to developers and said that potential tenants could include a bank or a pharmacy.