NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After years of discussion, the Mandeville City Council is about to consider one of the city's biggest projects ever.
A developer wants to spend tens of millions of dollars to put in 500 housing units, a hotel, restaurants and stores at one of the Northshore's "gateway" locations. For 30 years, it sat as a graveyard for old concrete used in the building of the Causeway, but now a northshore doctor has come forward, with a $200 million dream.
"I would like to do something that would be an economic and quality-of-life boost that my family can be proud of," said developer Dr Michael Pittman.
After a series of public meetings, Pittman just submitted plans for an 80-acre mixed-use residential and commercial development on the lake, just off the Causeway, that's been dubbed Port Marigny.
"The concrete is one of the reasons it's taken so long to develop this site," Pittman said.
The project will include upscale residential home sites with boat slips, a hotel, a small shopping center and condos.
"We're not going to rush through this,we're going to take our time," said Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere.
It will be a major project that could attract thousands each day, and that could have a huge impact. City officials are promising a thorough traffic study.
"We have hired an engineer to look at their study, and we're looking at hiring someone who's familiar with neighborhood developments to look at everything in the proposal to make sure what we're getting is what they say we're going to get," Villere said.
While some worry about the impacts on Monroe Street, the mayor says much of the anticipated traffic may be directed down Mariner's Village Boulevard toward the Causeway.
"It's location coming right off the Causeway - it will be very visible, and architecturally it should fit into what Mandeville is all about," Villere said.
The developer hired architect Steven Oubre, a proponent of the "new urbanism" movement, to plan a project that he hopes fills a need.
"Anyone who has tried to house people for weddings in Mandeville finds they have to go to Covington for that," Pittman said.
City officials say there's much at stake.
"It's one of the few places on the Gulf Coast that's still a coastal village, and that's a hard ambience to maintain," said Mandeville Councilman Ernest Burguieres.
After years of planning, the Mandeville Council will vote Thursday night to send Port Marigny to the Planning Commission for full consideration.
Mandeville's mayor says the project also includes a small lakefront park that will be open to the public. It also includes about 60,000 square feet of commercial space that could house shops and restaurants. Plans now call for Port Marigny to be developed in five phases over the next seven to 10 years, all subject to Council approval.