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Work could start soon on new roads

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Work on a new road to access a planned Kroger Marketplace and associated development is expected to begin in the near future.

Fessler and Bowman was the apparent low bidder to construct George Dement Boulevard and Phase I of Plantation Drive Extension.

George Dement Boulevard will begin at Airline Drive and extend east through the development, to be located between the Wal-Mart Supercenter and Home Depot stores.

Phase I of Plantation Drive Extension will link Viking Drive to the eastern end of George Dement Boulevard.

Phase II would go behind Lowe’s and Wal-Mart Supercenter to connect the existing Plantation Drive to Phase I of the extension, and would also link up to Douglas Drive, which intersects Airline Drive just south of Lowe’s.

Fessler and Bowman’s bid of $4,477,461.95 was well within the city’s project estimate of $4.8 million. The second-lowest bid was by Best Yet Builders for $4,572,698.64.

Bids were read and taken under advisement for review at the May 20 City Council meeting. A contract could be awarded at the June 3 City Council meeting.

The new Kroger Marketplace has an anticipated opening in the first half of 2015. The 124,000 square foot store would double the size of an average supermarket and employ more than 300 full-time and part-time workers.

SDI Realty, developers of the property that is the largest undeveloped parcel on Airline Drive south of I-220,told city officials earlier this year the total development is expected to also include a national craft retailer,a pet store, a fast food restaurant, a steakhouse and several retailers. Names of the other components in the development have not been publicly identified.

Bossier City has agreed to provide up to $7 million in infrastructure improvements related to the development, which is expected to generate substantial sales tax revenue for the city.

Bossier City and Bossier Parish together spent about $7.4 million on infrastructure for the Sterling Center on Airline Drive north of I-220. The newest major addition to the Sterling Center is a Sam’s Club, currently under construction and slated for opening later this year.

Kroger Marketplaces are an upscale expanded version of the chain’s traditional grocery stores. In addition to traditional offerings, the Kroger Marketplace would include amenities such as a pharmacy,  flower department, a bakery with gourmet cakes, a seafood market and a Starbucks coffee shop.

Aside from providing access to the new development from Airline Drive, city officials are hopeful George Dement Boulevard and Plantation Drive will provide some traffic relief on Airline Drive. Motorists from the north, for example,would be able to access the development via Viking Drive and Plantation Drive Extension rather than being forced to enter from Airline Drive..

Plans call for Phase II of Plantation Drive Extension to be constructed next year. Both phases are being paid for from the Riverboat Gaming Fund.

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