The following featured projects represent select opportunities to enhance the vibrancy of Acadiana’s urban core.
Parish Jail Redevelopment Area
The future relocation of the Lafayette Parish Jail will open up 4 acres of prime downtown property for development. If assembled with other adjacent parcels of public and private property, the site would cover 6 acres. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is recommending a predevelopment study and master plan for the site to maximize the opportunity.
Performing Arts Center Complex
First opened in 1960, the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette’s Oil Center has been a centerpiece of Acadiana’s arts scene for more than six decades. With the need for a more modern performing arts facility to be able to host the best shows and showcase our local talent, the stars are aligning for Lafayette to find a new location and build a new performing arts center to serve Acadiana into the future.
In early 2023, Lafayette Consolidated Government issued a request for proposals for land to build a replacement for the Heymann Performing Arts Center. UL Lafayette submitted the lone response, proposing a site on the corner of Cajundome Boulevard and Congress Street, across from Cajun Field. The State Legislature included $75 million for UL Lafayette for the Performing Arts Center Complex project in the state’s 2023 capital outlay budget. The total cost of the PAC complex is estimated to be $200 million.
Convent & Lee Mixed-Use Development
A five-story mixed-use development project is proposed at the corner of Lee Avenue and Convent Street in Downtown Lafayette. The project includes 208 residential units (32 studios, 116 one-bedroom, and 60 two-bedroom), 7,800 square feet of commercial retail space, and 700 structured parking spaces. The publicly-owned property that makes up just under half of the footprint of this proposed development is currently used for city court and city marshal functions. The privately-owned adjacent lots that would make up the other half of the footprint currently contains an unoccupied building on one parcel and vacant land on the other parcels. A portion of the 208 residential units will be located on Jefferson Street and connected to the full development by a mid-block, paved alley to the parking garage.
Coburn’s Building Adaptive Reuse and Corridor Plan
The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority (LPTFA) and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) have initiated plans to redevelop the former Coburn’s Building, as well as the larger corridor in the northeast section of Downtown Lafayette extending from the Coburn’s Building to the Rosa Parks Transportation Center. The Coburn’s Building site is bounded by W Second St, W Grant St, W Third St, and W Cypress St. The larger corridor encompasses underutilized land that bridges the gap between Downtown and the proposed Evangeline Grand Boulevard along the Evangeline Thruway.
UL Lafayette & Downtown Lafayette Connectivity
According to Census data, in recent years the city of Lafayette’s population has remained flat, while at the same time thousands of college students move into our community each year, which creates an opportunity for growth. Many UL Lafayette students, however, don’t take the short walk from campus across Johnston Street and University Avenue to discover the amenities Downtown Lafayette has to offer. One of the presenters on 1A’s Leadership Exchange trip to Pensacola called this our “cool, small problem to solve.”
Solving this problem will require investing in improvements to bike and pedestrian safety, one of the quality of life factors that UL Lafayette students rated lowest, according to 1A’s latest Quality of Life Survey. A recent study tracked nearly 4,000 pedestrian crossings across Johnston Street and University Avenue daily. That was before UL opened its new health sciences campus across Johnston Street at the former Our Lady of Lourdes site. As pedestrian crossings in this area continue to increase, safety improvements are becoming ever more urgent.
Moncus Park Connectivity
Another community asset that is challenging for bicyclists and pedestrians to access is Moncus Park. That challenge is being partially addressed with the first route of the Bicycle Lafayette Plan funded to connect Moncus Park to Girard Park. Improvements are also needed at the intersection of Johnston Street and Bertrand Drive to enhance safety for pedestrians accessing the park from this direction.