If you build it, they will come. And if all the buildings going up are any indication, Bossier City officials say the people are coming.
“I can think of six or eight (new retail buildings being built), right off the top of my head,” said Bossier City Metropolitan Planning Commission Director Sam Marsiglia.
These include car washes, a new multi-tenant strip center anchored by Aspen Dental on Airline Drive near Walmart where the old Exxon gas station was recently torn down, a Hartz Chicken restaurant on north Airline, a new bank on Airline and Brownlee Road, and two fast food restaurants in south Bossier.
The Bossier City permits department said that to date in 2016, 48 commercial business have filed for building permits at a value of more than $43.2 million.
“Over the last three 10-year censuses, we’ve grown around 10 percent each census. We’re getting big,” Marsiglia said.
He noted the current development trend is multi-tenant strip centers, with one on Airline Drive and Barksdale Boulevard 75 percent complete and another one in the works for East Texas Street.
“We’re seeing a lot of lease spaces,” he said,”and they don’t build those until they have them leased out.”
Marsiglia’s office is seeing more infield development where older buildings are torn down and new buildings take their place.
“We love they’re going on old spots with new architectural standards and landscaping that dresses up the town.”
This new look for Bossier comes down to the city’s construction standards, with Marsiglia explaining, “They’re a higher standard on at least three sides of the building. We don’t have a particular style, but we regulate the type of materials and the amount on the building.”
Also in the works are expansions for Bossier’s medical field with the previously announced CHRISTUS Health Shreveport Bossier emergency and micro hospital model on Viking Drive, which broke ground last month.
Marsiglia also revealed Willis-Knighton is preparing to submit its official plans for the development at the old Palmetto Country Club in Benton. He said it’s a combination of town homes, assisted living facility, single-family homes, and eventually a 60-bed hospital with emergency facility.
Speaking of Benton, Marsiglia who handles the Benton zoning office as well, said he has seen a big uptick in residential housing for that area.
While the boom that hit Bossier in the wake of the Haynesville Shale discovery in 2008 has subsided, he said the housing construction is holding steady.
“A few years ago we used to do 600 or 700 new houses, now it’s down to about 300. But it’s been at that level for the past three or four years.”
According to the Bossier City permits department, so far in 2016, 241 houses were built this year with a total value of $36.89 million.
Marsiglia said that north Bossier is the boom area for the parish with 60 percent of the work his office does going towards development north of I-220 on Airline Drive.
The perfect example is the brand new Walmart Supercenter being built on Airline and Wemple Road.
“(That) isn’t going up north of I-220 for no reason,” said Marsiglia. “Just in that area, they’ll have a region of 22,000 people to draw from for that new store without going south of I-220.”
Looking five to 10 years down the road, he said he doesn’t see it stopping, saying, “The Cyber Innovation Center will only have more tenants, our downtown re-envisioning project will be in full force by then. I see a lot going on.”