New Projects, Expansions Moving St. Landry Parish Forward

Brandy Ledet Development

2017 has been another productive year for St. Landry Parish, highlighted by creation of a central development district that quickly attracted attention from developers who recognize the benefit of a prime location in a fast-growing area of the I-49 corridor.

Crews have begun infrastructure work on a site incorporating nearly 100 acres of prime I-49 property, and regional developers are moving forward on “a large commercial retail project” in the newly created district, according to St. Landry economic development director Bill Rodier. He anticipates a formal announcement of the project in the near future.

Those developers are among nearly two dozen actively looking at new projects or expansions that can mean several hundred new jobs for St. Landry workers. Those include expansions within existing operations such as the Walmart distribution center, Prairie Construction, and Slick Construction, and a new facility that will help Riceland Crawfish send more of its product to an expanding market.

A change in the role of the Walmart Distribution Center, already one of the largest employers in the parish, will create nearly 250 new full-time jobs, and bring the total employee base close to 1100 employees.

The 1,200,000-square-foot center was opened on Highway 743 in September 1999 as the first WalMart distribution center in Louisiana.

Prairie Construction will consolidate its central operation into a new central administration facility in the Opelousas Industrial Park.

“This has not been easy. It has taken persistence and patience, but we are getting there. The momentum we are building should fare well for St Landry well into next year and beyond.” SLED Executive Director, Bill Rodier
Among other work, Prairie Contractors, has been a prime contractor on the parish Smooth Ride Home project, winning the first contract to upgrade or entirely rebuilding 66 miles of St. Landry Parish roads.

Slick Construction, a family owned business based in Eunice specializes in pipeline and related services.  It is anticipated that its recent expansion in the Eunice Industrial Park will allow the company to potentially double its workforce to 100 full-time employees over the next two years.

The company, incorporated in 1956, has long experience in construction, repair, and maintenance of pipelines, gas processing plants, compressor and metering stations, hydrostatic testing, site work, and right of way clearing and maintenance.

Sub-Zero Storage on Highway 190 near Eunice is a sub-expansion of Riceland Crawfish and will be used substantially for that company’s products. But it will also set a foundation for considerable transportation- and distribution-related growth around it.

Riceland, based in Eunice, sends crawfish and alligator products across the United States. The company has sales of more than $15 million a year and hires up to 150 people at the peak of the crawfish season.

These and other projects show that “we continue to be fortunate in that we are going through a growing diversification of the area’s economy, Rodier said. “This bodes well for us as a parish as we continue to see the transformation in front of our eyes of core priorities into real projects.

“This has not been easy. It has taken persistence and patience, but we are getting there. The momentum we are building should fare well for St Landry well into next year and beyond.”

He called the expansion of the Central St Landry Economic Development District “a milestone step in being able to provide the infrastructure necessary for growth in the I-49 corridor” and said parish, civic, business, and government leaders are also actively looking at the potential to expand opportunities opened up by its creation.

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As a Quasi-governmental entity to promote economic development, the St. Landry Parish Economic Development’s (SLED) primary mission is to provide leadership in economic and community development that facilitates growth opportunities leading to enhanced prosperity for St. Landry Parish businesses, communities, its clients and youth.