LSUA to develop golf course into commercial, retail site

LSUA and the LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation have a new vision for the campus, and they have begun the search for a developer to make it happen.
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:54 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - LSUA and the LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation (REFF) have a new vision for the campus, and they have begun the search for a developer who will make it a reality.

Soon, what is currently a 40-acre public golf course on campus will be a retail and commercial development site to enhance the campus experience. After having completed a market study on the area and the viability of commercial investments, LSUA has begun the process of searching for a developer.

”We’re gonna look at the types of businesses that they would be looking to bring in, the types of services that would be available to students and what would bring the most activity to this area,” said Deron Thaxton, vice chancellor for finance and administrative services at LSUA. “LSUA is outside of Alexandria. There’s not a lot around, directly around the campus, and we want to change that.”

The development is part of the university’s strategic plan to increase student enrollment to 5,000, a number they are quickly approaching. By census day, around mid-September, the university expects to have about 4,000 students enrolled.

However, despite their growth within the student body, there is also a growing desire among enrolled students who want access to more food, shopping and entertainment options closer to campus. LSUA is located five miles south of Alexandria, with the nearest retail store being a Y-Not-Stop adjacent to the campus.

“They’re looking for that larger campus experience, and we’re in a very rural area, and that serves us well to a lot of ends, but we also want to provide those services to students, and this gives us the opportunity to do that,” said Thaxton.

The university has released a mixed-use development request for proposals, where developers are being asked to submit proposals for how they would create a commercial site. LSUA will work with the chosen development partner to implement a plan which will compliment the institutional profile of the university, offer a diverse number of amenities and provide for a long-term revenue stream.

The latter of those goals was something the LSUA nine-hole golf course was not providing, with leadership detailing it as “severely under-utilized,” especially among students.

“We need to ensure that every dollar that students pay to LSUA goes back to them in services that provide for them,” said Thaxton “We feel that we can do that better with a development in this area versus the golf course.”

Just a few of the amenities LSUA is open to developing include grocery stores, restaurants, specialty retail stores and entertainment venues, as well as potential housing in the future.

Developer submissions are due by Sept. 16. LSUA will select a developer to partner with by Oct. 10.

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