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Ascension Economic Development Corporation

Ascension Economic Development Corporation

Schedule

2013 - Present

Services Provided

Site Analysis and Desktop Due Diligence

Detailed Site Due Diligence

Engineering Feasibility Studies

Community and Landowner Engagement

Site and Land Planning

Prime Consultant

As a result of decades of steady industrial growth, the once quiet parish of Ascension now lays claim to more than 25 petrochemical facilities with countless light manufacturing and service industries located within its boundaries. While proud of its accomplishments to date, the Ascension Parish Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) initiated a site development program to identify, qualify, and prepare additional sites for development in anticipation of the manufacturing boom currently underway in the U.S. and the Gulf Coast Region. CSRS, along with team member LEO, LLC, was selected as the site development team tasked with conceiving and executing a parish-wide strategic sites program to prepare development-ready sites that will attract and win economic development driver projects to Ascension Parish.


FIRM PROJECT RESPONSIBILITIES

By considering the community site location and infrastructure assets, a GIS Suitability model was used to identify sites that met the input criteria. The result was the identification of more than 86 large industrial sites and over 90 smaller sites that meet the established criteria. The sites were further prioritized and screened using desktop analysis to thoroughly analyze whether or not each site was suitable for expending program dollars on detailed due diligence. To date, nine sites have been certified with all detailed due diligence completed.


Perhaps the most impressive site emerging from the sites program is the assemblage of the West Bank Industrial Overlay District (WBIO). During the site identification and screening process, 17,000 acres of contiguous agricultural property was identified. The site encompasses more than nine miles of Mississippi River access and over two miles of Union Pacific Railroad (UP) mainline access. Through months of landowner engagement, the sites team was able to assemble the acreage under option agreement. We then prepared an overlay district ordinance to allow industrial uses within the 17,000-acre complex. A dock and rail feasibility study was completed to further determine the opportunities and challenges of providing rail and dock facilities to the complex. The team is currently working to attract nationa and international tenants as well as developers for the site.


PROJECT KEY SUCCESSES

Identifying new greenfield sites in a highly populated area required a unique approach. To overcome this challenge, we calibrated the GIS suitability model to become ultra-sensitive to key site metrics across the study area. The result was identification of smaller site positioned in areas where sufficient buffers existed between non-contiguous zoning areas. Over 90 small sites were identified across the study area suitable to host small to mid-size businesses.


PROJECT CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

Assembling the 17,000 acre Westbank site required engaging with over a dozen major landowners, each of which had their own ideas about how the park should be assembled. Our team worked with each landowner to articulate the vision of the master plan for the entire park with shared services for utilities, rail, and roadways improving the function and marketability of the entire 17,000 Acres. The master plan effort enticed the landowners to option their property for the initial three year option period.

Client

Ascension Economic Development Corporation