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Covington, La. -
On the north shore, two major developments push forward promising new jobs and buildings taller than they've seen before along Interstate 12.
It's part of an economic boom that will likely create new traffic challenges.
Earth moving equipment clears wooded acreage near the heart of one of St. Tammany's new growth areas off I-12.
"We've been working on this for three years now," said developer Mike Saucier.
The intersection of Highways 1085 and 1077 near Covington has become a hub of activity and the Copperstill Marketplace hopes to capitalize.
"It's all growing in that area. That's our hotspot of residential growth," said St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister.
Plans call for a 35,000 square foot Ralph's grocery store and multiple retail outlets.
"Total businesses, a dozen, some 60 to 75 employees and a couple hundred during construction," said Saucier.
Ten miles to the east, where I-12 intersects Highway 1088, the parish council has given approval for one of the largest business parks in St. Tammany history. 160 acres owned by the Azby Fund out of New Orleans have been set aside for 'Class A' commercial.
The development could include, as many as three 200 foot tall office towers, which would be St. Tammany's tallest.
"We need the jobs here to keep our kids here. We don't want them leaving," said Brister.
Though dozens of acres have been clearcut in both new developments, the planners say they are committed to preserving as much green space as possible.
The Azby fund says 25 percent of the 1088 site will be set aside for green space, and near Covington, green space is also part of the plan near the new Ralph's.
"You'll see some oak trees on the site we're preserving, and we have a 50 feet "no cut, no clear" area," said Saucier.
Both developments are expected to increase traffic, and the parish is making adjustments by planning traffic circles called roundabouts at busy intersections along Highways 1085 and 1088.
"It's a long stretch and we will do it in phases with DOTD. There will be some signalization , traffic circles, combination of several things," said Brister.
Both new developments will generate hundreds of new jobs helping to keep north shore jobs closer to home along with the urban impacts that the parish says it will deal with.
Residents near the 1088 site say they will wait for the project to go through the parish planning process before weighing in on possible impacts. That process could begin within the next six months.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
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