Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish could see a surge in development in the coming years with its recent selection as a Cleco SmartSite.

The designation covers a 64.3 acre tract of land along the airport’s taxiway that has been made ready for development.

The designation was the result of a state program focused on identifying development ready properties, and a decision by Cleco in 2010 to hire the site selecting firm McCallum Sweeney to asses a number of potential properties throughout Louisiana.

“As businesses look to grow, they want to locate properties that are easily permitted, contain no surprises and have available or accessible infrastructure,” says consultant Mark Sweeney, who has worked with companies like Boeing, Nissan and U.S. Steel. “We essentially identify all of the things that are important to business and industry so that they know up front what a piece of property offers.”

The review process, says Mike Tarantino, president and CEO of Iberia Industrial Development Foundation, took about 18 months. And according to Tarantino, Acadiana Regional’s designation as a SmartSite is one of only about seven such designations statewide.

“A SmartSite is basically a place that has all the necessary attributes, so businesses don’t have to buy property and then wait months and months waiting on utilities to get there,” says Tarantino. “This is ready to go. It has all the environmental studies, the permitting, the utilities — all the things that would take a lot of time. We’ve done that, so a company deciding to come here wouldn’t have to go through all that rigmarole.”

Acadiana Regional’s Airport Director Jason Devillier says the designation as a SmartSite, in addition to the airport’s strategic location between U.S. 90 and LA 182 will help hopefully lead to expansion in the near future.

“Our industrial complex is already home to thriving companies like Bristow Helicopters, Avex, Aggreko, Carbo Ceramics and many more,” says Devillier. “Being designated a SmartSite will help us attract the attention of businesses on a national level.”

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