Coming soon to the prime quadrant at Kaliste Saloom Road, Camellia Boulevard, Long Plantation Road and Starling Lane is Parc Lafayette, Lafayette’s first outdoor lifestyle center. At the center of it all is a park with mature live oaks, bronze sculptures and green spaces highlighting Acadiana’s culture and Lafayette’s namesake, the Marquis de Lafayette. The front 14-acre tract features 140,000 square feet of premium space for upscale shopping and dining. In the back 20 acres is the centerpiece — a four-star, full-service hotel with a French flair. “I think this is the best commercial property in Lafayette,” says developer Glenn Stewart. “It’s a great location — right across from River Ranch. The intersection gets 75,000 cars a day, so it’s a very good commercial site. To me, when you combine that Acadian-type landscape with the commercial potential, that makes the best possible site in Lafayette.”

After returning to his native Lafayette in 2004, Stewart contacted Daniel Saloom and his family about buying the well-located, undeveloped plat draped with majestic 80-year-old oak trees. For three years, he and architect Kevin Gossen drafted over a dozen designs before finalizing the site plan. In January 2009, Parc Lafayette purchased the property and officially launched the project.

Similar lifestyle centers exist in major cities like Dallas and Houston, with the closest being Baton Rouge’s Towne Center at Cedar Lodge and Perkins Rowe. “It will be Lafayette’s first lifestyle center, which is basically an outdoor shopping center with entertainment,” Stewart explains, “so that people can make an all-day affair out of going to these locations.”

In phase one, Parc Lafayette will develop the front 14 acres at Camellia Boulevard and Kaliste Saloom Road into retail and restaurants. A department store focusing on women’s fashions will anchor the coveted corner. The next component is an “All-About-Me” building catering to the ladies, with boutiques, salons and specialty shops. Flanking this area is a row of oak trees that will shade five restaurants with outdoor seating. These trees are part of a European-style park that extends into the back 20 acres.

Beyond the oaks on the Long Plantation side, Parc Lafayette plans to host a building dedicated to children’s needs, featuring kids’ clothing, accessories, toys and furnishings, along with other necessities kids enjoy, like an ice cream parlor or candy shop. Playground equipment and fountains will be available for burning off all that energy after snacking. For the adults is a home décor area, including a large contemporary furniture store, interior decorator, flooring and carpet center and a large upscale kitchen store. “It will be a place where the whole family can come and be entertained,” Stewart says.

If all goes as planned, ground breaking on phase one will occur within 30 days. Next year, Parc Lafayette will enter phase two, consisting of the back 20 acres of the development. Besides offering another 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, this section will house the crown jewel of the development, the Hotel Marquis de Lafayette. This four-star, full-service hotel, modeled after the elegant Trianon Palace in Versailles, France, will feature 100 to 150 rooms and “very” French décor — down to the doormen’s uniforms. “It will be, by far, the nicest hotel in Lafayette,” Stewart boasts. “We plan on having five weddings a week there. It will be unique to Lafayette.”

Nestled in the center of the development is a European-style park featuring live entertainment and events throughout the year. About $1 million worth of bronze and marble sculptures depicting famous Louisiana figures will accent the grounds. “More business travelers as well as tourists need to discover that we really do have a unique culture and unique things to offer,” Stewart says. “Our outdoor art program will be themed around that. We are trying to get the best artists that we possibly can to transcend the pure physical structure into the meaning behind about being what an Acadian is all about.”

Aspiring tenants are already embracing the new concept. Just in the first week after putting up signs, Parc Lafayette is already filling up storefronts. Spaces for many of phase-one’s restaurant, home furnishings and department store sites are spoken for, with the women’s and home décor sections about 50 to 60 percent leased. Tenants consist of existing and first-time Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans-based businesses. “It really surprised me how much interest New Orleans retail and restaurant owners have in Lafayette,” Stewart observes. “They are really excited about locating here, because they feel that Lafayette is a vibrant, growing city. We really want to make sure that we pick high-quality tenants, because we want this to be the high-quality shopping experience for Lafayette.”

For leasing information on Parc Lafayette, contact Jade Blasingame at (337) 349-6072.

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