Buc-ee's, the popular Texas-based convenience store chain, is on track to open its first Lafayette location by late next year. According to the Acadiana Advocate, the company cleared significant initial hurdles on Thursday night, receiving unanimous approval from the Lafayette Board of Zoning Adjustment for eight variances related to parking lot landscaping, parking spaces, architectural requirements, and sign regulations.

The new store is set to be situated at the northeast corner of Louisiana Avenue and Interstate 10. It will feature a massive 74,000-square-foot building, complete with gas pumps and nearly 700 parking spaces. While several approvals are still pending, the company seems optimistic about its progress.

Scott Ratcliff, Buc-ee's Director of Engineering, expressed confidence in city officials' support and the ongoing collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development on a traffic study. Additionally, efforts are underway with the Corps of Engineers to renew an environmental permit for the site.

"Lafayette is a great community," Ratcliff stated. "It's on the trip. People are coming through this area on I-10, and we want to capture them and bring them into town."

The new Lafayette Buc-ee's will be one of the largest, rivaling the chain's stores in Hillsboro, Texas, and Sevierville, Tennessee. Ratcliff hinted at a beach-themed store highlighting local artisans alongside Buc-ee's staples like beaver nuggets, pulled pork sandwiches, and beef jerky.

Construction is expected to take about 13 months, with the goal of opening before the 2025 holiday season. The project must adhere to the architectural guidelines of its overlay district. However, Buc-ee’s has requested variances to maintain its brand consistency, including a 125-foot-high sign designed to be visible from I-10, significantly taller than the 30-foot limit usually imposed.

The variance requests faced no opposition at the zoning meeting. Mandi Mitchell, CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), spoke in favor of the project, highlighting its potential economic benefits. "We anticipate that if the project does move forward, it will have a significant economic impact for the city of Lafayette and the parish in the way of well over 100 jobs — at least 150 jobs — and a significant amount of additional retail sales and property taxes at this location that has sat dormant for several decades," Mitchell said.

The zoning committee, led by Chair Garland Pennison, was satisfied with Buc-ee's efforts to tailor the store's layout to the site, considering overhead power lines and adjacent streets. After thorough discussions and assurances, the committee unanimously approved the variance requests.

For more details on Buc-ee’s upcoming Lafayette location, see the full story from Megan Wyatt at the Acadiana Advocate here.

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Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer