The City of Central, located just outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana is a recently incorporated city with large tracts of developable land. As Baton Rouge growth has extended into traditionally rural areas, Central’s residential development has skyrocketed, with growth rates more than doubling.
With this in mind, the government of Central intends to plan for this development in an intelligent and sustainable manner, in which the new neighborhoods, office parks and retail amenities benefit the existing community and allow for the city’s economic growth while not overburdening the city’s existing school system and small businesses. In May of 2008, the City of Central hired GCR Inc. (GCR) to conduct a market feasibility analysis for residential, retail and commercial development through 2020.
GCR initiated the study with a baseline within the city limits and within the greater Baton Rouge area. GCR factored in several key indicators to estimate household growth and economic trends, including recent population growth and development patterns, building permits and home value, government-sponsored economic development initiatives and infrastructure investment.
From the growth estimates, GCR estimated local purchasing power and penetration rates for various retail services to identify gaps in retail services. GCR also estimated the need for workforce housing and commercial space by accounting for metro area and East Baton Rouge parish job growth rates by industry and job classification. Finally, GCR estimated potential sales and income tax revenue based on varying growth scenarios, taking into account the recent economic downturn and potential for attracting regional employers.
The final report is currently being used by the City as a marketing tool to attract new businesses, and provides guidance to local planning efforts by focusing commercial development and zoning residential areas according to the needs and income of the future workforce.