Plans for retail area pleasantly surprise port's neighbors - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Plans for retail area pleasantly surprise port's neighbors

(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12) (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12)
Shreveport architect Mike McSwain unveils concept designs for commercial retail development across from the Port of Caddo-Bossier during an expansion committee meeting. (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12) Shreveport architect Mike McSwain unveils concept designs for commercial retail development across from the Port of Caddo-Bossier during an expansion committee meeting. (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12) (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12)
Regional Commerce Center at the Port of Caddo-Bossier. (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12) Regional Commerce Center at the Port of Caddo-Bossier. (Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12)
PORT OF CADDO-BOSSIER (KSLA) -

After years of worrying, it now appears some neighbors of the Port of Caddo-Bossier are getting their wish.

Commercial development, yes; but heavy industrial in their backyard, no.

It's a pleasant surprise to some homeowners who had expected a fight at the port just south of Shreveport.

Port officials say they still need more land to attract big industries to create more jobs.

RELATED STORY: Caddo port looks to expand industrial park near south Shreveport neighborhoods

But some of that future expansion won't be located across Louisiana Highway 1, where some had feared.

The Port of Caddo-Bossier industrial park now is home to 17 tenants with more than 1,500 employees.

"That doesn't include all the other, if you will, deliveries and the service companies that provide services to those companies," said Eric England, the port's executive director.

So the port established a tenant organization, which told them what commercial activity they wanted to see.

"At the top of the list was daycare facilities," England said. 

That list also included restaurants and other shops and services on the opposite side of Highway 1 from the port.

And that's where architect Mike McSwain comes in. 

"I think it's a bigger opportunity than just serving the port. I think as south Shreveport grows, it's going to serve a bigger market."

McSwain delivered some preliminary concepts to the Caddo-Bossier Port Commission's expansion committee.

For local neighbors of the port, this is a classic case of what a difference a year makes.

A year ago, the people who live down Harts Island Road were terrified about the prospect of having heavy industrial companies surrounding their homes. 

Now they have the prospect of retail space; areas that could be useful to them.

And they are pleasantly surprised.

"We knew that land would be developed. We just didn't want a heavy industrial, 24/7 operation on our fence line. And what they proposed in there looked good," neighbor Joe Johnson said.

The concept and design stages of the commercial development will take the rest of this year, with construction getting underway sometime next year and opening for business by 2019, England said.

And industrial expansion still is very much a long-term goal at the port, he added.

Officials are talking with several nearby land owners who are interested in selling their property in the near future, England said.

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