By Malcolm Butler
A new housing unit is scheduled to be constructed on West California Avenue in the very near future.
Lincoln Parish Economic Development Director Phillip M. Smart said that a 240-bed apartment complex in the lot adjacent to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, in the space that formerly held Church’s Fried Chicken with the additional lot behind it.
“We have a housing crisis in Lincoln Parish and of course in the City of Ruston, we have one especially for our students,” said Smart. “We want students to come, attend our universities, enjoy our city and feel at home. We are in dire need of additional student housing in Ruston.”
Smart said the company – Global Student Housing – has plans to construct the 1-bedroom apartments. The complex will include a parking garage on site. The apartments will be in easy walking distance from the Louisiana Tech campus, the company likes to promote ecofriendly transportation.
“We are pretty pleased with this project and are very excited about it,” said Smart. “Hopefully we can see this come to fruition pretty soon. The Global Student Housing has already gotten to the part where they are ready to submit for permits to the city. I really think it will be a highlight and bring more life to that area.”
Smart said Global Student Housing is a company that normally caters to international students, but the complex will be open to all students – both Tech and Grambling State. The company will also be looking to construct a similar site for Grambling State University in Grambling.
The project is scheduled to start once permitting is approved and a rough timeline has the completion set for Fall 2024.
In addition to the housing unit, Smart also talked about some additional businesses that are coming soon, including:
- Panda Express — “The last time I talked to the project manager on that, it was October or November. But of course with supply and demand that time varies. It will hopefully be around October.”
- Bojangles – “This is on Farmerville Highway on the corner of Kentucky and Farmerville. I’ve seen the plans and the layout looks great. I don’t know the timeline, but we know it will be there. We have some citizens that are really excited about more food options.”
- Taco Bandido – “They have submitted plans to go in the old Pizza Hut building. I am overjoyed that it takes another vacant structure and blighted property off of our list. It really helps with enhancing the beautification of Ruston.”
- Grocery store on Farmerville Highway – “I have not seen the plans for the building yet. I have seen that the property has been purchased by Brookshire Grocery Company. We talked about the need and desire to have a location out there, specially for the growth that is north region of Ruston and for the northeast quadrant. I definitely believe it is a need for our citizens and visitors. This location helps with the quality of life where those citizens don’t have to drive across town to pick up groceries.
- Plasma facility – “That is a company out of the Baton Rouge area that will be opening up a new plasma facility (in the old Rite Aid building). It will help with the work force and allow people to (have) good paying jobs there. It allows more medical jobs and medical benefits to our area. This increases the quality of life. It also takes another vacant property off of our list.”
- Old Navy – “We started on that project as soon as I came on board. We made contact with Old Navy in November and have been in contact with them up to this point. They just submitted their plans and their drawings of the new building. I don’t know an exact time frame due to supply and demand. It will be in the same shopping center strip as TJ Maxx and Hobby Lobby. There is a vacant greenfield site all the way at the end by the shoe store. It will be right next to it.”
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