Ashton Plantation set for housing market

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005


Staff Reporter

LULING – Preparing land for a venture to include thousands of homesites has begun. The location of the development is bounded by I-310; River Road; and Ashton Road.

If all goes according to plan, Ashton Plantation will welcome families in their new homes by Spring 2006.

The road from inception in 1997 to the groundbreaking of the property, (which is located on land once covered by sugarcane fields,) has taken quite a while, according to Don Cooper, spokesman for Ashton Plantation.

“We went through all the approval cycles” he said. “But the biggest challenge was finding a way to cross the railroad tracks at East Plantation Boulevard.”

That’s not a problem anymore, thanks to an agreement signed Feb. 1 by Union Pacific Railroad, St. Charles Parish, and the two developers of the property – J. B. Levert Land Company and Rathborne Properties.

This agreement allows for building a railroad crossing at the Union Pacific tracks and Plantation Boulevard.

The crossing agreement was approved by the St. Charles Council in March 2004.

Talks with the railroad regarding the needed crossing began quite a while ago. Without their approval, there could be no new housing development, said Cooper. “Negotiations with the railroad covered a lengthy, several-year process.”

The new crossing will be state-of-the-art, with full safety protection. It will include crossing arms, bells, and a raised divider to prevent people from going around the gates.

Cooper added that the recently-signed agreement with Union Pacific Railroad also includes upgrading the railroad crossing at Gassen Street, which is located near the building project.

The first action in the housing development totaled in at almost $1 million, and included the excavation of two lakes on the property. This was completed in November 2004.

The first phase of the project is divided into two parts. The first part of construction, which is currently in operation, will build 109 homesites; and the second part will construct 111 homesites.

The remainder of the 2,000 planned homesites will be built in nine more phases over the next 20 years, according to Cooper.

“We are excited and ready to move forward,” he said. “Barring bad weather, there’s nothing to slow down our construction.”

Cooper added that the Ashton Plantation undertaking will serve many benefits to the community. “This means developing tremendous economic conditions,” he said. “And it will allow St. Charles Parish to offer an appeal similar to the North Shore, without the Causeway.”