Work starting on $70 million Lake Area employee village

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

A private company broke ground Tuesday for a $70 million housing facility it plans to build on port property to meet the area’s

projected workforce demands.

The construction of the temporary employee village, named Pelican Lodge, is expected to bring in 400 jobs. But once completed,

in mid-2015, it could be home to as many as 4,000 construction workers.

In June, the Port Board unanimously approved a lease option agreement. Bill Rase, port executive director, said efforts like

these “put Southwest Louisiana on the map” internationally.

Over the next five years, more than 15,000 construction jobs are expected to come from the more than $47 billion worth of

investments in Southwest Louisiana.

“In order for these projects to be successful we have to have a place for workers to stay that is similar to home,” Rase said.

“It’s not just a boarding house.”

Details of the plans, which include a

baseball field, basketball courts and several different dining options,

were first released

in April.

Greenfield Logistical Solutions of

Louisiana LLC will build the facility on 200 acres of port land at 1100

James Sudduth Parkway.

Sammy Pate, project manager and partner with GLS, said the housing

is so much more than a “traditional man camp.”

The plan includes daily meals and

transportation to and from work for residents. GLS is looking at having

five double-decker

buses that can transport 80 people per bus. That will be 80 fewer

cars per bus on the road going to the various sites, Rase

said, adding that rent will be $130 per day.

Through the lease agreement, the port is set to make $360,000 per year, as well as a percentage from the number of “heads

on beds,” Rase has said. The port will get a dollar a day for each resident. At full capacity, Pelican Lodge could mean an

additional $1.46 million a year for the port.

Unit fabrication will be done in Houston, and the facility will be set up in Lake Charles in three phases.

Pate said solidification of the project

comes on the heels of collaborative efforts by the Southwest Louisiana

Economic Development

Alliance, Sowela Technical Community College, McNeese State

University, state legislators, the port, the parish and the city

of Lake Charles.