Rail facility project passed to JDP board
Board will take title and lease back for property
JENNINGS — The newly recreated Jeff Davis Parish Industrial Development Board approved a proposal Monday to continue development of a rail facility at the Lacassine Industrial Park, pending final approval of attorneys.
Under the proposal, the Industrial Development Board will take title and lease back for the property owned by Rail Logix at a cost of $10 a year for 20 years. The purchase includes land owned by the company and improvements, including railways.
Rail Logix has already put in $30 million in infrastructure and other improvements at the site, which can handle 800 rail cars with the ability to expand to 2,350 and a track with more than 350 rail car spots of interchange. It maintains 10 miles of railway outside the park with another 6.5 miles in the park.
Newly elected board President Ronnie Petree said the project’s target is getting more businesses to locate and use the tracks and related infrastructures.
"We are thankful Rail Logix is here and want to encourage them to put more investments in to the parish so that we can attract more businesses and be able to have more people employed in the parish," Petree said.
Also, included in the proposal are plans to reduce the annual tax liability on Rail Logix from $46,000 to $11,000 as they continue to make additional improvements at the park.
"Before there were any improvements made the parish was not making any money on the existing land which was zoned agriculture," attorney David Bruchhaus said. "They came in and did millions of dollars of improvements on the property, so in 2019 the current approximate value to taxpayers would have been $46,000-$47,000."
Under the pending sale and lease agreement, the company will pay 25 percent of whatever the State Tax Commission decides.
"Rail Logix is a company that has a proven track record of coming in to an area, helping increase the economic development of that area by providing a number of employees with good-paying jobs," Petree said. "This is the structure that will help them go out and attract businesses of different types to come in and locate in our parish."
Potential businesses could include distribution and manufacturing facilities and those needed to support the industrial growth in Lake Charles, he said.
The facility currently stores rail cars for Westlake Chemicals, which serves as the facility’s anchor tenant.
Two other potential businesses are close to signing and locating in the industrial park, Petree said.
"To me this is a very huge step for Jeff Davis Parish that the Police Jury has decided to recreate the Industrial Development Board to do what they can to take advantage of the business opportunities that we currently have at hand," Petree said. "Hopefully this project will mean more investments in the parish and bring in more employees."
The parish will also benefit from any sales tax on any building that they build and having the location there will also increase land value of land around the industrial park.