Juban Crossing $655k (15%) short for bond payment; developer kicks in difference

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Juban Crossing came up short in 2019 to make the bond payment for infrastructure improvements when the development began construction in 2013.
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LIVINGSTON, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – The economy has not been kind to Juban Crossing since the flood.

It took an extra amount of time to re-open Movie Tavern, due to the nature of their construction and holding water.

Several companies closed, either due to poor local sales or national trends.

The disaster slowed the general growth of the development, as well, pushing back construction of new restaurants and business centers.

The fact that the intersection of Juban Road and I-12, and pictures of a flooded Juban Crossing, were used to show the Denham Springs area during the flood.

Constantly.

All of that has led to a slow in sales tax collection, a portion of which goes to pay off the bonds which were issued by the parish council in 2013 to fund drainage and roads for the development. $50 million total was bonded, at a 30 year expiration, with a payment of $4,117,986 per year.

$3,437,986 in principal, $680,000 in interest.

The Juban Crossing Economic Development District manages those bond payments, which is the only reason for a budget in the area.

That group met, which comprises the full council, on Thursday, Dec. 5 to discuss adopting the 2020 budget.

It was during that meeting that they learned about the shortage and that the developer, Creekstone Properties, had tossed in $655,537 to make up for the difference.

Livingston Parish would have been on call for money, had the developer been unable to produce the difference. Steve Keller, principal at Creekstone Properties, told the parish council in 2013 that he had already put in $8 million of his own money to make the development a reality, before the bonds were even approved.

The sales tax portion comes from three sources: Drainage District 1 is putting up 40 percent of a half-cent sales tax; the Parish Council is putting up 40 percent of a three-fourths cent sales tax; and Juban Crossing businesses will collect 2 cents in addition to the same sales taxes collected in surrounding areas.

The district currently collects an extra 2-cents on the dollar, which in 2013 pushed the total collections to 10.5%, the highest in the parish.

With the state sales tax increase by 1-cent in Gov. John Bel Edwards’ first year, it was up to 11.5%, but has fallen to roughly 11% as that state-level sales tax increase was reduced.

The fourth source of revenue supporting bond sales comes from the authority of the development district, which governs property tax levies within Juban Crossing.

August 2016 is cited often as a reason that Juban Crossing suffered a major development lag. After Phase 1 was complete in late 2015, the Great Flood struck and many photos showed Juban Crossing under several feet of water – mostly as a way to show the effect of the ‘I-12 wall.’

Kohl’s did not return to the development after the flood, closing shortly after. Two other large box retailers announced they were shuttering, as well, with ‘Forever 21’ and ‘Dress Barn’ closing in the coming days.

The development has not moved past Phase 1, as well, with the plats resting between the first phase and Academy Sports & Outdoors still empty.

However, restaurants have been added since the first builds in the development including Cafe Americain, Texas Roadhouse, and soon to be Piccadilly, as well as strip centers near the front for smaller businesses. Construction has also began on a RaceTrac at the northeast corner.

Unfortunately, Juban Marketplace – which sits on the east side of Juban Road – does not count toward the district’s collections and, therefore, bond payment.

Despite the projected growth, the development still shows $107,846 shortfall in 2020.

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