SULPHUR — A 32-acre site at the West Calcasieu Port is officially Louisiana Economic Development certified, offering shovel-ready land for businesses looking to build there.

During a Tuesday press conference at Intracoastal Park, Lynn Hohensee, port director, said the site could attract anywhere from 300 to 400 jobs.

"It could be fabrication of materials or parts or modules for new industries coming in," he said. "It could be a laydown yard for intermodal transportation. Materials may come in by barge and wait here because there's no space at the construction site, and when it's needed, moved to the site."

The port site is the 12th in Southwest Louisiana and the ninth in Calcasieu Parish to be certified under LED's site certification program.

Gus Fontenot, project coordinator for the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said a tenant could use the port's site to provide services for projects currently awaiting final investment decision, such as Driftwood LNG, Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles LNG.

"There's going to be a lot of industrial construction activity in this area, and West Cal Port is in the heart of it," he said. "When those projects kick off ... it'll help them get in on the game, get a piece of the action."

The certification removes any obstacles that may interrupt development, such as property having wetlands or underground artifacts, Fontenot said.

"That helps that property in the marketplace (and) gives it more of a competitive edge," he said. "The port is poised for a good future."

Hohensee said Louisiana Economic Development paid for 75 percent of the certification cost, roughly $45,000, while the port paid the remaining 25 percent, or about $15,000.

The West Calcasieu Port is made up of more than 200 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway, just west of the Ellender Bridge.

Last September, the port received a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. Hohensee said the grant will cover 80 percent of the cost associated with building a steel sheet pile bulkhead berth facility along the north bank of the Intracoastal Waterway.

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