Magnolia Square Still Gold Standard

Magnolia Square Still Gold Standard

Jimmy Nunnally grew up in Central in the 1960’s.  His father, Dr. Richard Nunnally, who at age 87 still practices medicine, owns a log cabin on Greenwell Springs Road that was built in 1803 and is believed to be the oldest building in Central.

Jimmy always had a soft spot in his heart for Central.  After developing several successful projects in Baton Rouge, he decided to undertake a small project in Central.   While doing his due diligence, he came upon a large 185-acre tract for sale on Lovett Road.  It was far larger than he needed, but he got excited about the possibilities.

He and partner Steele Pollard decided to build a large mixed use development they named the Village at Magnolia Square.  It would be a TND, or Traditional Neighborhood Development, the first official TND in East Baton Rouge Parish.  They engaged a famous designer, Steve Oubre, who planned River Ranch in Lafayette, to lead their design efforts.

In Central, the developers held a charette, an open house where local residents had the opportunity to review the plans and make suggestions. Oubre, Nunnally, and Pollard made every effort to include residents’ suggestions.

When the proposal for the large development came before Central’s Planning & Zoning Commission, it encountered no real opposition and was unanimously approved.

Steele Pollard’s grandfather, O.M. Pollard, had developed Pollard Estates, and his father, Miles Pollard, had developed more than 790 acres in Slidell.

Nunnally said he knew the project would have to be done in phases.

Groundbreaking was held Feb. 22, 2008.  More than 200 local officials, builders, and Central residents attended.  The project was hailed as eventually including 510 classically-designed front porch-style homes as well as 15 retail shops, including a café, coffee shop, and other amenities.

Today, seven years later, the project is moving forward.  Phases I, II and III of the project, which include homes and retail, are nearing completion.  This includes Stab’s fine dining, a bank, insurance company, day spa and salon, and legislative offices of Rep. Barry Ivey.

The community pool and pavilion for residents is scheduled to open in August.

Nunnally and Pollard have recently signed an agreement with Scott Bardwell to develop Phase IV of the Village at Magnolia Square in the Highlands District.  Homes in that area will be in the $350,000 to $450,000 price range.

Right now, Nunnally and Pollard are looking at Phase IV, which may be called Villas at Magnolia Square with a price range of $250,000 to $310,000.

After those projects, there will still be another 100 acres to develop.

The Village at Magnolia Square has had a positive effect on Central.  It has raised home values and shown that a high-end development can be successful in Central.

The Village has also been a boon to local builders, who have built most of the homes.  Central’s largest homebuilder, Steve Rabalais, has offices in the development.

In addition, the Central Community School System has benefitted because all of the homes and businesses make a significant contribution to property tax collections.

Nunnally said the opening of the Central Thruway is a major benefit to the Village at Magnolia Square, making it even more accessible to Baton Rouge and to Interstate 12.

For information on The Village at Magnolia Square, call 757-1970.

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