-In 2018, a real push came together to development a master plan to rebuild Lafayette’s Oil Center. The goal is to make it much more user friendly.Plans are in the works to build new three to five-story mixed use buildings and take cues from the employment of the medical center and proximity to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
2018 was a busy year when it came it came to economic development in Acadiana. Here some of the biggest development stories of the year.
-The Cajundome makes the most money off of hosting concerts. The facility held seven concerts in 2018, three which were real money makers. They are planning on getting those numbers up in 2019.
Some of the challenges for the Cajundome come from the fact that they are the only arena in the state that isn’t run by SMG and its capacity.
-The film industry is growing in Acadiana. In 2018, five films were in production in in the area. They were expected to generate $3.2 million. The Southern Screen Film Festival, which is held every year in Lafayette, helps promote local film production. Several film companies are planning on shooting at least eight films per year starting in 2019.
-Louisiana and Acadiana have had issues for years with bad roads and old schools that need to be rebuilt or remodeled. One Acadiana is working on the Regional Infrastructure Visioning Report to help identify the key road projects to tackle, LPSS has been working hard to make upgrades to the older schools as well as to work to build news schools. Ultimately, funding will determine the speed of that progress.
-The oil and gas industry has been down for yesterday years. But there is optimism that 2019 will be a big year for the industry, with increased oil prices and more investing in the oil and gas business. A number of workers have left the business because of the downturn. It will cost more money to train new workers to replace them.
-The city of Youngsville continues to grow. The Metairie Center Complex is part of that growth. There are currently over 30 businesses up and running with several more pending. This allows Youngsville residents to shop locally and not that to go into Lafayette. There are plans to build some residential house there in the future.
-The local real estate market took a turn for the better in 2018. There was a high supply and demand for homes this past year. Consumers are savvy. They do their research online and normally know what they want in a home before they contact a real estate agent. The value of homes in Lafayette have continued to hold their value.
-In 2018, One Acadiana hired new CEO Troy Wayman. He comes from Mobile, Alabama, where he worked toward economic development in that region.
-Also in 2018, the Downtown Development Authority got a new CEO- Anita Begnaud. The Acadiana native previously worked for One Acadiana. She has hit the ground running as downtown Lafayette continues its economic boom.