Porch & Parish Magazine - Serving the Zachary, LA Community

Zachary Stories

David Gaines: The Main Street Man

By Lauren Pope

If you’ve driven down Main Street (or whatever it happens to be called at whatever point of the road you happen to be on) in Zachary, you’ve driven by a property David Gaines developed. He’s responsible for many of the construction and development projects that have taken place in the past two decades.

Gaines says his biggest accomplishment is his marriage to Susan for 48 years. But during that time he has made an immense contribution to the Zachary community. He spent 32 years at ExxonMobil, first as a chemical engineer and later as a real estate manager.

photography by Rip Rittell
David Gaines at the historic Zachary Train Depot, which he hopes to have a hand in redeveloping.

The Power of Listening

Gaines says the key to his success at Exxon was listening to everyone. Guys on the floor would have great ideas others might brush off, but he took what they said seriously and thought about how those ideas could be implemented. It’s the same philosophy he takes with property development.

He says he “listens to learn what the needs are in town. People know what they want, but don’t know what they need to do to make it happen.” Gaines knows how to make it happen. He sees a plot of dirt and imagines not just the potential for a business, but the kind of person who could make that business thrive.

Local Developments

Gaines’ local developments include 10 homes in Rosewood, several homes in Americana, and the buildings that now house Real Property Management Premium, Marble Slab, PJ’s Coffee, Virginia Street Snowball, Geaux 2 Realty, Cypress Title and Z Market, among many others.

Many factors have to come together to get a project off the ground, and making it work requires investment, not just of money, but also of time. Gaines says he’s thinking about projects “24/7” and sometimes wakes up at 3 a.m. turning details over in his mind. The results speak for themselves.

“Your average IRA probably gets 8-10% ROI. If you took that money and put it towards development instead, not only would you probably get a better return, but you can see the difference your money is making in your community. You can invest in our hometown through Equity Trust Self- Directed IRA. Property values are declining and cash is king right now. Our families need fun things to do such as bowling, outdoor activities, and especially activities for the kids. There are vast amounts of vacant land up and down our main street. We can fill those vacant properties and make Zachary more sustainable and fun.”

Gaines currently has his eyes set on the Historic Train Depot with big plans and ideas for the space. “You’ve got to be brave, and support the brave ones,” Gaines says. That bravery has certainly paid off for him, and for our community. Let’s keep dreaming big, Zachary!

Read more about local developers and their upcoming projects as featured in the Renaizance special section by clicking here.

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