Church groundbreaking opens St. Landry ‘Gateway’

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Main News Photo

Photo by Freddie Herpin. Opelousas Daily World

“The whole area where the church will be is ready to take off with more construction over the next year,” he said. “You will see new construction and development in this area faster than anyone could have expected.”


Groundbreaking July 11 for the 43,000-square-foot, $12 million Our Savior’s Church on I-49 at Harry Guilbeau Road is just the beginning of a flurry of activity in the recently created Central St. Landry Economic Development District, according to church and economic development officials.

Pastor Eugene Reiszner said the church, to be built by Lemoine Construction, is the centerpiece of a 100-acre Gateway Opelousas project, that will include 17 commercial lots in addition to the church campus.

The church paid for streets, water lines, and its own wastewater treatment facility as part of the development, according to Bill Rodier, St. Landry economic development director.

He said a Honda dealership is planned for one of the commercial sites and that a commercial development that includes several medical offices will also use part of the property.

“The whole area where the church will be is ready to take off with more construction over the next year,” he said. “You will see new construction and development in this area faster than anyone could have expected.”

Brown’s Furniture plans to merge its current Lafayette and Opelousas stores into a 50,000-square-foot “megastore” across I-49 from the church site, next to a 30,000-square-foot Giles Nissan facility that opened earlier this year.

For the last eight years Our Savior’s Church has been what Reiszner called a “mobile church. Its congregation has met in the Opelousas Community Center and the old Delta Grand Theater, and currently meets in the Opelousas High School auditorium. The church has paid for improvements to the auditorium and other facilities at the school as part of that arrangement.

Reiszner said the church has been looking for some time for a permanent location and that the I-49 site “was the best piece of property in St. Landry Parish to locate our church.”  Funding for the church and associated development came from donations from the church’s 2,000-member congregation and from others, the pastor said.

The property is located within the Central St. Landry Economic Development District, which was lauded as a “milestone achievement” when it was created last year.

Frank “Buddy” Helton, chairman of the commission that oversees the district, predicted at the time of its creation that it would open prime commercial sites along I-49 to development and spur parishwide growth well into the future—a prediction that Rodier says is coming true.

He says the district’s ability to build infrastructure and amenities attractive to retailers and other businesses will help St. Landry capitalize on its position at the crossroads of I-49, the state’s major north-south interstate highway, and U.S. 190, which stretches from east to west across south Louisiana.

Improvements planned by the district and the activity that it will bring will make the I-49 corridor in St. Landry “potentially one of the most valuable economic corridors in south Louisiana,” Rodier said

Three things to know about this story:

  1. Our Savior’s Church will be the centerpiece of a 100-acre Gateway Opelousas project that will include 17 commercial lots in addition to the church campus.
  2. The whole area where the church will be is ready to take off with more construction over the next year.
  3. Improvements planned in the Central St. Landry Economic Development District will make the I-49 corridor in St. Landry potentially one of the most valuable economic corridors in south Louisiana.

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