By Malcolm Butler
A Shreveport-based development company will be closing on the 80-plus acres on Highway 167 South across from the Ruston Sports Complex this week and soon that area will turn into both commercial and residential property.
Justin Sevier, one of the owners of Wivi Land Development, said his group will be closing on the property on Tuesday, a footprint that has been home to the Ruston Country Club for decades.
Wivi Land Development is a partnership between Wicker Construction and Vintage Realty out of Shreveport.
“We believe in that sports corridor (on the south side of Ruston),” said Sevier. “I have spent quite a bit of time there with my son and with my family. It’s an amazing complex. Very well done.
“Ruston just has a good feel to it. There seems to be a lot of positive, strategic, organic growth. I spent the spring over there at a baseball tournament. I got to looking while I was over there in March or February and that’s where the idea came from.”
“Justin and his entire team have been incredible,” said Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker. “My staff and I have met with them twice, and we are really elated that they have chosen Ruston for this development.”
The property listing on RE/MAX Results Realty states the property includes 81.66 acres, including 885 feet of front road on Highway 167 South. Sevier said the plan is to zone the front of the property for future commercial establishments while turning the other 72 acres into residential property.
“We feel like the first few hundred feet of the depth on the property … we are going to reserve that for commercial use,” said Sevier. “We don’t have anything in mind specifically currently, but we are going to put a drive or an entry into that area; similar to what they did across the street at the sports complex. We are going to just leave partials on the front for some fast food or for some offices. I know the mayor has talked about hopefully getting a hotel out that way. We are following suit and just leaving some land available for those types of developments.”
“The remaining property will be residential single-family homes. There will be three different lot sizes. There will be 50-, 60-, and 70-foot wide lots That will give some variety to the builder.”
Sevier said approximately 300 houses will be built and that his group already has an agreement in place with DSLD.
“They are a regional builder based out of Baton Rouge,” said Sevier. “They have developments from Mobile to Sulphur to Jackson. They have close to a dozen in Shreveport-Bossier. I believe they have one or two in Monroe too. They are filling in their grid of locations.
“They do a really nice job. They are a really good group that knows what they are doing. They study markets a lot and know what the demand looks like. My guess is the will build a variety of those sizes on the lots and probably have houses for sale by late fall or winter of next year.”
The property is listed for $2.4 million.
“It will pretty close to that number,” said Sevier.
Sevier said the houses will range in size from 1,500 to 2,800 square feet.
“We will develop lots 60 or 70 at a time, and sell them as we finish those,” said Sevier. “We will move dirt pretty quickly. We are hoping to have approvals for the start of construction in about 60 days. My guess is the entry drive and the first phase will take probably five months of construction. By early summer next year we are hoping to start selling the first group of lots to DSLD so they can start construction.”
Sevier said he believes the entirety of the project will take about four and a half years.
“Once we get our feet under us we will figure out (the commercial side),” said Sevier. “One of the partners is Vintage Realty who has some presence in Ruston, and we have a good relationship with some of the other realtors around Ruston. I think we will be involved brainstorming, and see if we can aid in some additional development in that commercial property with the mayor and his staff.”
Walker said this development and others on the south side of Ruston are integral to the continued growth of the city and the increased value of the Sports Complex.
“This development will continue the revitalization of the south side of our city around the sports complex,” said Walker. “We built the complex where its located so we could bring up an entire area of our city, and I think we are seeing that with this development — both residential and commercial – on a prime piece of land.
“This is a tremendous development for Ruston and Lincoln Parish. and we are so appreciative of the confidence that the development has shown in our city to make something like this happen.”