Americana earns Business of the Year award

For 10+ years, John Engquist and Charles Landry have been carefully planning and implementing a unique living experience in a traditional neighborhood development on the west side of Zachary. Americana is a place of front porches, picket fences, common community areas, and lots of Southern hospitality. It may sound a bit like Mayberry (there’s even a fishing pond), but the development blends the slower pace of yesteryear with modern amenities to create a small-town lifestyle with the perks of large-town living.

Kidz Karousel, opening Fall 2018, will offer child care and educational programs for up to 189 children.

Kidz Karousel, opening Fall 2018, will offer child care and educational programs for up to 189 children.

At the recent annual Zachary Chamber Awards Banquet, Americana took home Business of the Year.
“It’s an impressive honor for us, and we’re humbled by it,” said co-developer Charles Landry. “We’re doing everything we possibly can to be totally integrated into the community of Zachary because as Zachary grows, we grow. It’s very important for us that we’re seen as an indigenous Zachary business, and we’re proud of it.”

Children can play at the newly installed swings near the pond.

Children can play at the newly installed swings near the pond.

To date, Americana has made a $100 million investment into Zachary, and because of persistent commercial and retail interests in the west side of town, the development team has also purchased 60 additional acres on the north side of Mt. Pleasant Road across the street from Americana.
“It completely wraps around the Audubon apartments,” said Landry. “We’re in the process of preparing a petition to annex that property into the City of Zachary…then we’ll start with the process of rezoning and doing what we need to develop that property.”
Landry explained that he and co-developer John Engquist see Zachary as a hub city to a larger area – larger than many people understand. Because consumers travel from surrounding parishes and even Mississippi to do business in the community, Zachary is essentially much more than 15,000 people.

Construction of The Villages of Americana will be complete in early 2018, offering 60 condo-grade apartments and retail space.

Construction of The Villages of Americana will be complete in early 2018, offering 60 condo-grade apartments and retail space.

“We need more development throughout Zachary for us to be successful and to bring in the commercial interest that we really want to see,” he said. “We want more development in Zachary, like the new residential developments (currently underway). We need those rooftops, and we don’t see it as competition. We see it as enhancing our ability to get much better commercial interest.”
Though it may seem Americana has been slow to announce new businesses coming to the development, Landry said that has been strategic.
“We’ve been very careful to announce only businesses that are actually coming. We didn’t announce Walk-On’s until a month before we closed (the deal). That’s the principle difference in a traditional neighborhood development; you have to convince the residents that what you tell them is going to be the vision of the community is actually going to happen.”
In 2017, Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar celebrated its grand opening as the first restaurant in Americana. On the heels of the Walk-On’s construction, Commercial Properties also broke ground on two buildings along Mt. Pleasant Road. The ground floors of the buildings will house a combined 20,000 square feet of commercial property with Bistro Byronz as one of the lead tenants opening Spring 2018.

Construction of The Villages of Americana will be complete in early 2018, offering 60 condo-grade apartments and retail space.

Construction of The Villages of Americana will be complete in early 2018, offering 60 condo-grade apartments and retail space.

“We are working on a lease now for another restaurant, and there are a number of smaller tenants that will be announced shortly. Essentially,” Landry said, ”we have a lot of activity for the retail space of the buildings, but we’re being very selective. We have to be careful that what we put into Americana from a retail standpoint has the support of the residents. We want goods and services and restaurants that principally are for the benefit of our residents. That’s what we’re focusing on.”
A total of sixty condominium-quality apartments with all the amenities will occupy the additional three floors in each building as The Villages of Americana. “There aren’t two better buildings in the city of Baton Rouge. The people from Commercial Properties will tell you that those are the best that they have built so far,” said Landry. The first building (west) will be complete in December and will begin leasing in January/February 2018. The construction timeline of the second building will follow the first by about a month.
Other developments in Americana include Kidz Karousel, a 12,000-square-foot child care facility that will be licensed for 189 children. Landry reiterated Americana’s commitment to the community. “We only want to bring folks that first and foremost provide value…to the residents, and Kidz Karousel will be good for the city of Zachary in general.”
Owner Tessa Holloway said the project has been in the works for over four years now. Once she saw Americana, she knew the development was the perfect location for the center. Holloway anticipates construction to be complete in April 2018, and applications are being accepted for an enrollment wait list. “After meeting Engquist, I knew he had the same passion for his development as I had for my childcare centers, and that was all I needed. He saw my vision, and I saw his. I could not have asked for better people to work with (than Engquist and Landry).”
Holloway is planning a family entertainment center as the second phase of her business development in Americana. She said construction should begin this summer and hopes for a December 2018 opening. The 15,000 square foot center will include an arcade, restaurant, online gaming facility, ropes course, laser tag, and party rooms.
Progress has been slow for the Provident Senior Living project, but Landry said, “The project is absolutely underway. The financial market delayed the project, Landry said, but “in a meeting recently with the mayor, the CEO of Provident Resources Group advised they will be moving dirt in April/May 2018 with a one-year construction period.”
Provident previously purchased land at Americana; however, the group plans to acquire additional land to accommodate the strong market for a first-class senior living property. In addition to a large, multiple-tenant facility, Provident is working with a team now designing individual residences that will be rental units for mature residents who prefer independent living.
Landry also noted that the YMCA, which has been very collaborative with Americana, is working on additional amenities and expansion. “A number of concepts that have been discussed regarding Provident Senior Living are very much integrated into the Y and the Y’s activities.”

Details:

Americana, 1122 Americana Boulevard, Zachary, LA 70791; 225-633-1814; www.americanazachary.com; Facebook: AmericanaZachary; Twitter: @LifeAtAmericana.
Now that Americana is closing in on 60 residences, developers are focusing attention on events.
“We’re at a wonderful pace selling houses,” said Landry, “and we’re moving on community activities.” There will be at least two events per year for the public at large. Americana representatives recently met with the Chief of Police to discuss a Fourth of July function with fireworks for next summer. The timeframe of the second event has not been decided.
Because the idea of Americana is to have people socialize, the developers are also finalizing plans for a post office.
“People will see their neighbors when they walk to the post office to get their mail,” said Landry. “The idea is to have people interact. We’re not selling houses or lots, we’re selling a lifestyle. That’s what Americana’s all about.”

By Holly Felter Rabalais

Comments are closed.