Baton Rouge Growth and Development

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On the flip side, one of the reasons that I vote the way that I do today is because I've witnessed (repeatedly) the absurdity of the notion that throwing money at inner city schools without real reform will solve all of their problems.   In my experience, the last thing that teacher unions and local school boards want is reform.  Their top priority is to protect their job and they fight any real reform that could introduce a competitive dynamic to their industry.  

I really thought Louisiana was onto something with the voucher programs.  I'm furious that the current leadership in Washington is so sympathetic to public sector unions that they'd fight something that could really help break the cycle of poverty for many.  It wasn't a perfect setup and definitely needed to evolve, but it was starting to work.   Teacher unions and the politicians that they own fought that very hard and won.    

Our entire public school system stopped making sense when our communities outgrew single room schoolhouses.   

My attitude towards public schools in Baton Rouge is that It will take real reform and a lot of time to fix it.   In the meantime, we should split up the district and ensure that the growth in East Baton Rouge doesn't suffer because of inner city problems by offering competitive independent districts where possible (if for nothing else but to keep the tax base closer to the city center).   

The voucher program doesn't seem like a long-term fix to me. I have a younger cousin benefiting from it doesn't do anything to improve her community. Do the teachers in better performing districts fear a massive reform too?

I can't agree with the splitting of the district, not at the expense of education, and not without a viable plan already in place.

 In this deal New Orleans kills BTR and BR in general. BR does not get anything out of this, New Orleans gets a lot more. It gets a larger population, bigger employment numbers, larger number of Fortune 500/1000 companies and company investments, etc. The only way this could even slightly work is if the two cities, like Dallas/Fort Worth and Minneapolis/St.Paul had an International Airport between the two cities and even then it's a horrible idea. 

As Cajun said, "I'm not sure where or how people developed the idea that New Orleans was capable of cooperating with anyone other than New Orleans....especially with a city like Baton Rouge, which is loathed and hated in the crescent city.    Baton Rouge has a long history of being disorganized politically, and New Orleans has a long history of eating everyone else's lunch despite losing population and economic clout for the last 50 years.   It's a match made in hell." He's completely right. New Orleans does not value Baton Rouge and Baton Rouge will not and has not been treated more like the equal it is. 

If Baton Rouge is so desperate to become a larger region/city then I think the most natural city to merge with is Hammond. Most development and future development is centered there, we're closer to them than New Orleans, and we would have a population of 1million.

How does New Orleans get more out of this partnership? I'm confused why you keep referring to this as "one city." They will always be separate and I fail to see the paranoia surrounding this partnership. New Orleans has always gotten more attention, that's how it works when the state's largest city is a tourist mecca and the economic driver of Louisiana. It's only recently that Baton Rouge is closer in size and scale to New Orleans than it ever was before.

The animosity from New Orleanians is just as childish as it is when you speak ill of them.

Eventually, I-12 will be scattered with Wal-Marts and Evergreen Estates Apartment complexes along it's entire stretch; the "merge" with Hammond is virtually inevitable.

Our most important assets lie along I-10 so like it or not, all of these cities will have to cooperate. I believe that Baton Rouge's success can be indirectly tied to the success of New Orleans.

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Jefferson office park garnering unprecedented interest, Baton Rouge developer says         

Don Joffrion has been building office parks in the Baton Rouge area for several years, but he says he has never had as positive a response from businesses as he has been getting with his new 6700 Jefferson Office Park development.

Located a stone’s throw away from the City Farm office park being completed by Dantin Bruce Development, Joffrion’s 75,000-square-foot development already has three buildings under contract—and phase one of the project hasn’t even been completed.

“We’ve done several office parks, and typically you don’t get this kind of response at this stage of the game,” Joffrion says, crediting the location on Jefferson Highway between Lobdell Boulevard and Government Street as a popular draw for businesses right now.

For the third building in the development, Joffrion says the contract was negotiated and signed before workers had broken ground on the 3,800-square-foot building.

“In my experience, that’s unheard of,” Joffrion adds.

Joffrion and broker Mathew Laborde with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate would not divulge the names of the businesses moving in, saying only that three law firms have purchased buildings and they are negotiating a lease with a home health business as a possible fourth tenant.

For phase one, they still have one building that will be built to spec and a pad for a built-to-suit space that Joffrion says he will either sell or lease. The single-story buildings in phase one range from 3,800 to 5,200 square feet. Joffrion says phase two, which could be underway in about 60 days, will feature 13,000-square-foot, two-story buildings.

Laborde says several interested parties have approached developers about the buildings in phase two, but no contracts have been signed. The developers are charging about $20 per square foot to lease the space and between $180 to $185 per square foot to buy the space.

Trula Remson of Remson Haley Herpin Architects, the lead architect on the project, says the firm is drawing on French influences to create a timeless and traditional space with painted brick, arches, gas lanterns and pitched roofs. One of the buildings will have a cupola, and each building will be set apart by details in the entry points, Remson says.

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East Baton Rouge Parish voters to have say on revenue sharing plan this fall          

Voters in East Baton Rouge Parish will decide on Nov. 21 whether or not the City of Central is added to a revenue sharing arrangement that currently benefits Baton Rouge, Baker and Zachary.

The Metro Council on Wednesday evening OK’d placing the measure on the ballot. At issue is about $1.5 million in revenue that comes from industrial properties. The revenue traditionally has been split among three of the parish’s four municipalities, according to population, with Baton Rouge receiving about 90%, and Zachary and Baker getting about 5% each.

If it is approved by voters in the parish, Central stands to gain about $143,870 for the 2016 budget year, according to city-parish Department of Finance estimates. With Central added to the plan, Baton Rouge’s share of the revenue would fall to about 80%, while Zachary and Baker would see their cuts reduced less significantly and still get about 5% each. Central would get a nearly 10% share of the funds, as—at roughly 26,850 residents—it is larger than Zachary (14,960) or Baker (13,895).

Also Wednesday, the Metro Council deferred for 30 days a measure to fix the salary of the next mayor of Baton Rouge at $157,000, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Mayor Kip Holden—who is term-limited and is running for lieutenant governor—is set to earn $152,317 this year.

The council took no action on a resolution allowing City Court judges to begin imposing a new $5 technology fee in criminal, traffic and civil cases, with the money funding the purchase and maintenance of a new case management system.

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I was thinking what industrial properties Central have I understand Baker, Baton Rouge, and Zachary with Georgia Pacific, but I can't think of one in Central?

Edited by greg225

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Amedisys looks for new Baton Rouge offices                                 


Home nursing giant Amedisys Inc., which opened a Nashville executive office in July, may be looking to shed the South Sherwood Forest Boulevard site that now houses the company’s corporate offices.


“For the past couple of months, we’ve been exploring different options with our building on Sherwood, looking at the possibility of leasing some of our space or the possibility of even moving if we can find another space that better suits our needs,” said spokeswoman Kendra Kimmons. “We haven’t found anything yet. We are looking at some properties. But no decisions have been made on anything,”

Amedisys is working with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate and looking at several properties in Baton Rouge, Kimmons said.

Amedisys purchased the Sherwood building in February 2005 for $4.2 million. It had previously been a Schwegmann’s grocery store. The company then spent more than two years converting the 110,000-square-foot space into a modern office building, installing skylights, multiple atriums and banks of windows along the front. When the office opened in April 2007, Amedisys said its total investment in the Sherwood office topped $23 million.

Kimmons said the Sherwood office building is now bigger than what Amedisys needs  

In April, the company announced it was writing off a failed in-house designed software system and eliminating dozens of information technology jobs. In July, Amedisys said it was moving 33 of its top executives to a satellite office in Nashville and expected the move to be completed by the end of the year. The Tennessee Department of Economic Development said the move will create 120 new jobs over the next five years.

At the time the new Tennessee office was announced, Amedisys officials said there were about 410 employees working out of its corporate offices on Sherwood. CEO Paul Kusserow said Baton Rouge will remain the headquarters for the home health care company and the center of activity for general financial functions.

“Our executive team will be moving back and forth between offices, so there’s not going to be a huge difference in terms of our presence in Baton Rouge,” he told The Advocate.


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News roundup: Parking garage planned at Performance Contractors headquarters on Pecue … Java Mama planning late October opening … AutoZone on Airline plans major renovation, expansion  

Going up: As Performance Contractors continues to see steady growth, the company is now adding a four-story parking garage to its corporate office on Pecue Lane. According to a permit application filed with the parish Planning Commission, an existing lot at 9901 Pecue Lane will be transformed to a 159,000-square-foot parking garage to accommodate the small planned unit development under construction. The plans call for 332 total parking spots for vehicles, including six handicapped spots and seven spots for bicycles. Art Favre with Performance Contractors says the Planning Commission has already approved the parking garage and construction will begin as soon as the plans are done. He estimates it will take about one year to complete.

Opening soon: Renovations have begun on a former clothing store on Bluebonnet Boulevard that will soon house Java Mama, a café designed for parents to work while their children play in a safe, supervised area. The business will sell drinks, sandwiches, coffee from New Orleans-based French Truck and other café items, in addition to offering a 6-foot tall play structure and educational toys for the children. Melissa Oubre, a local attorney and licensee for the café, says her contractor began working over the weekend after a permit was approved late last week. She hopes to have the renovations of the 2,500-square-foot space completed in time for a late October opening. As previously reported, it will be first Java Mama location in Louisiana

In the zone: The AutoZone store at 8268 Airline Highway is set to expand to nearly double its current size. According to a permit filed with the city-parish Planning Commission on Monday, workers will add about 11,000 square feet to the existing 16,000-square-foot store. The renovations will cost $919,000, according to the filing. Texas Alliance Group Inc. out of Houston is listed as the contractor. Attempts to reach a spokesman for AutoZone to ask about their plans for the store were unsuccessful. The Airline location is one of a dozen Autozone stores in the Capital Region.

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CATS preparing to build 20 new solar-powered, covered bus shelters

Federal grant covers 80 percent of cost     

The Capital Area Transit System is preparing to build 20 new solar-powered, covered bus shelters at stops along Florida Boulevard, Scenic Highway and Harding Boulevard. CATS has inched along on a promise to build about 100 lit shelters at bus stops since a dedicated property tax was passed in 2012. There are 40 completed and another 40 that CATS hasn’t yet begun to procure.

Funds for the 20 shelters were approved Tuesday evening by the CATS board. The purchase was made possible by a federal grant of $905,000.

Riders have long complained that long waits for buses are exacerbated by a lack of benches or a covered area to protect them from rain or to provide shade during the hot summer months.

The latest round will bring the total of new bus shelters built to 60. But they might not be constructed and installed until March.

The purchase of the shelters and solar lights will cost $182,600. CATS will pay 20 percent of that cost from its own funds, with the federal grant covering the other 80 percent.

The remaining grant dollars will be used to purchase the 40 other shelters over the next six to nine months, CATS officials said. Those shelters also will be placed along the same state highways.

The lag on new bus shelters is one of a few major issues CATS has failed to deliver on in a timely fashion, despite promising voters in 2012 delivery of the benches by March 2014.

Critics also have noted CATS has yet to include signage at stops letting riders know schedules or routes.

CATS CEO Bob Mirabito has said the wait for the last 60 benches has hinged on holdups by the state Department of Transportation and Development, which has authority over the state roads and was recently in control of the federal grant.

CATS over the past several months has refurbished and rebuilt 89 old bus shelters that were in need of repair.                           Prius-Bus-Shelter.jpgsolar-powered-double-bus-shelter-led-lig

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East Baton Rouge RDA getting by on shoestring budget       

The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority is continuing to go about the business of putting blighted properties back into commerce and applying for grants to help fund infill redevelopment projects. The RDA recently took title to three blighted properties—one each in Scotlandville, Zion City and Old South Baton Rouge—it will turn over to community development organizations in the coming weeks.

The RDA has also applied for grant funding to hire a consultant to design a detailed plan for the redevelopment of the six-acre former Entergy site at 1509 Government St., which is expected to be a catalyst for redevelopment in the area. Planning guru Andres Duany completed a visioning plan for the project earlier this year, but it does not include specific details.

Still, the agency is operating on a much smaller scale than it did for its first five years in business—until former CEO Walter Monsour stepped down amidst criticism about the agency’s financial situation in late 2014. In the months since, several key staffers have left the agency and the RDA has been operating on a shoestring budget. But Interim Executive Director Gwen Hamilton, who took over in December, says her staff of five has enough money to keep the doors open until a long-term funding source can be identified.

SSA Consultants has been working for months on a detailed business plan for the RDA that will suggest several business models and identify potential funding sources for the agency. That plan is expected any day.

In the meantime, Hamilton says the RDA is working with four community development organizations on redeveloping more than 100 blighted properties throughout the city. It has also been laying the groundwork for future plans to develop Ardendale, an urban village planned for the former Smiley Heights neighborhood off Florida Boulevard.

The Baton Rouge Community College east campus that will anchor Ardendale is currently under construction and structures are now visible, which gives the redeveloping neighborhood an exciting feel, Hamilton says. The city-parish is also applying for a federal Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods Grant to help jump start redevelopment of high-quality, mixed-income housing in the surrounding neighborhood. The grants are due in November and awards of up to $30 million will be made in late 2016.

10 pad sites in office park on Coursey sell for $1.75M    

Coursey Condos has purchased 10 pad sites in the Market Plaza Office Park from the developer, Destiny Interests, and plans to begin construction immediately to finish the partially-completed office park.

The 40,000-square-foot space located on Coursey Boulevard, between Airline Highway and South Sherwood Forest Boulevard, sold for $1.75 million in a deal that closed Thursday.

Chris Pike of Mike Falgoust & Associates Commercial Real Estate, who represents Coursey Condos, says Destiny Interests built the other six buildings in the office park, then sold them to Coursey Condos, who in turn sold them to businesses. Pike says his clients saw an opportunity to make some extra money with the purchase.

“They know they are going to own the buildings anyway, so why not build it themselves,” he says.

Before Thursday’s sale, Destiny Interests paid Investar Bank $1 million to buy out its stake in the office park, land records show. The sale was structured as a 1031 exchange, which allowed Coursey Condos to defer capital gain taxes on the recent sale of a strip center in Reserve for $1.875 million, but required it to reinvest in another property on a short timeframe.

Pike says Coursey Condos will sell the pad sites for $50 per square foot before development, or $145 per square foot once built out. The pad sites range from 3,000 square feet to about 6,000 square feet.

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Like someone stepped into a bed of fire ants....Baton Rouge's love for all of there mini-office pads are all that seems like is ever going to happen....some of these are really nice; but it's now been over run by them! And Amedysis is clearing a lot out of thier HQ's near-by

What a disappointment over by Towne Center off Jefferson Hwy with there new little suburban garden offices... and the barren Commerce Circle off of Corporate Blvd...after all of these years NOTHING...the twin 5-story mid-rises have gone the way of Summa office tower as well as many others...vacant infill...

Edited by richyb83

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News roundup: Commercial development planned at former Timmons Truck Center on Airline … Commerce Title opens ‘pop-up office’ in Port Allen … Arlington Cottages and Townhomes going up on Ben Hur 

Shifting gears: The former Timmons Truck Center at Airline Highway and Tom Drive will be demolished to make way for a new commercial development after an Atlanta-based company with ties to RaceTrac Petroleum bought the property last week. Pepperwood Inc. bought the property from Jane Linch, James Linch Jr. and Hobe Sound Bible College in Florida for $1 million. Pepperwood’s board of directors includes the boards of several companies in Georgia and Texas, including RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., according to sales documents. Jim Dowling of Alliance Commercial Real Estate, who brokered the deal, confirms Pepperwood plans to put a commercial development on the property but has no specifics. Calls to the company for comment were not returned.

Now open for closings: Baton Rouge-based Commerce Title has expanded its footprint to the west side of the Mississippi River with a new office in Port Allen. The company, which has two Baton Rouge offices and a third in Prairieville, will now be providing pre-scheduled closing services from a shared office space at 1650 Beaulieu Lane in Port Allen. The company is calling the new spot a “pop-up office,” as it’s leasing the space from attorneys Jamie Fontenot and WIlliam Kleinpeter, who also have offices on site. “It is clear that there’s a need for more title services in West Baton Rouge, and we’re excited to be able to meet that need,” says Ashley Coco, who is spearheading the new office, in a prepared statement.

Going up: Work is underway on the Arlington Cottages and Townhomes on Ben Hur Road near LSU, and the developers say they are still on schedule to open the 179-unit apartment complex next fall. John Vawter, head of development for Alabama-based Capstone Collegiate Communities, says sitework is underway following a groundbreaking in May. The company received a building permit today for an 8,500-square-foot fitness center and clubhouse in the development. Construction on that space is expected to cost about $1.88 million. Capstone Collegiate Communities purchased 20 acres on Ben Hur Road for the development in May for about $7 million.


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Executive flight: The recent exit of corporate headquarters from Baton Rouge raises questions about the market’s ability to attract and retain them.                  

In mid-August, Albemarle Corp. confirmed what had been rumored for months: that it was relocating its corporate headquarters from Baton Rouge to Charlotte, North Carolina, where the company promised to create 120 new jobs and invest $12.9 million by the end of 2016.

DealsThe announcement came as a blow to leaders at Louisiana Economic Development and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, who had worked closely together all summer to come up with an incentive package to keep the company here. The deal they had crafted was remarkable, both in its size and scope. It included:

  • $6 million in incentives to an airline that would add nonstop flights from Baton Rouge to Houston and New York. Negotiations with a specific airline had been finalized, and the carrier was committed to bringing the additional service to Baton Rouge if Albemarle stayed.
  • $950,000 in landing fees and rent waivers, as well as marketing assistance to promote the new flight service.
  • $6.7 million in education incentives to support the development of new public school options—charter schools, presumably—that would guarantee reserved spots for children of Albemarle employees. The money could also have been used in the short run to supplement private school tuitions.
(Photo by Marie Constantin) Adam Knapp(Photo by Marie Constantin) Adam Knapp

“It was one of the most unique and creative packages LED and BRAC has ever put together,” BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp says of the deal, which would have required Albemarle to grow its corporate presence by 35 employees and stay in Baton Rouge until 2027. “It would have benefited the community, not just the company.”

By comparison, North Carolina offered the company a Job Development Investment Grant equal to 22% of the state personal income tax withholdings from the eligible new jobs Albemarle promised to create. The deal, at most, would amount to $2 million over a 12-year period.

On paper, the two packages weren’t even close. Albemarle took the North Carolina deal anyway.

The company’s decision says a lot about what it takes to attract and retain corporate headquarters. Clearly, it’s about more than incentive packages—even when those packages, like the one offered to Albemarle, are tailored to fit the specific needs of a prized company.

You could argue the Albemarle case is atypical. The company recently made a $6.2 billion acquisition of another business, New Jersey-based Rockwood Holdings, and perhaps moving to Charlotte simply made more strategic sense. But the Albemarle case is not isolated. Other companies have also pulled corporate executives out of Baton Rouge recently.

The other cityMore troubling, second- and third-tier cities like Baton Rouge across the country are losing corporate headquarters to a handful of major markets, where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated. These big cities have the two key ingredients that are critical in the competitive battles for the corporate office: access to talent and international assets, which is a fancy way of saying lots of highly educated professionals and a major airport.

Can Baton Rouge and Louisiana compete for these headquarters, and is it even worth trying? Or is it good enough to be home to a company’s regional base of operations? These questions carry deep implications for the future of economic development in south Louisiana.


Louisiana has had many significant economic development wins in recent years. It has attracted operations and distribution centers, manufacturing facilities and tech startups. These are significant. But they don’t bring the same prestige as having the home office in your hometown.

“Jobs are jobs, payroll is payroll,” says Mark Sweeney, principal with the South Carolina-based site selection firm McCallum Sweeney Consulting. “But corporate headquarters bring long-term investments in your community.”

There are several reasons why cities want to attract corporate headquarters. The jobs are high-income and highly desirable. Executive-level positions are what consultants refer to as “sticky jobs.” When times are tough and companies have to trim their payroll, those positions are the last to get cut. Also, having one corporate office tends to help lure others.

(Photo by Don Kadair) Tommy Kurtz(Photo by Don Kadair) Tommy Kurtz

“Having executives living in your community who are high income earners is good for economic development,” says Tommy Kurtz, a principal at the site selection firm LEO and a former Louisiana Economic Development official. “It helps provide a better base of people. Besides, the more you have, the easier it is to attract others.”

Also significant is the impact the presence of a corporate headquarters has on a community’s quality of life. The decision-makers in the corporate office tend to contribute to philanthropic organizations. They build libraries and university buildings, sponsor charitable golf tournaments and galas. They also attract national sports franchises and create demand for high-end real estate developments and retail establishments. In short, they give an area a certain prestige.

Economic development officials at the local and state levels are keenly aware of this and are working to address the issue. But of late they have had more losses than gains.

Just a month before Albemarle announced its decision to leave, home health care company Amedisys announced plans to open a satellite office in Nashville, Tennessee, where nearly its entire executive team will relocate. Though the corporate offices will technically remain in Baton Rouge, the company’s brain trust will be 600 miles away.

And in 2014, a year after completing its acquisition of The Shaw Group, CB&I moved all its executive-level and administrative employees out of the company’s Essen Lane high rise to the Houston area.

RankAs a result of the recent departures, Baton Rouge no longer boasts the headquarters of any Fortune 1000 companies, and the state has just three: Entergy in New Orleans, Pool Corp. in Covington and CenturyLink in Monroe.

If it’s any consolation, Baton Rouge isn’t alone. Global corporations across the country are relocating from the mid-sized cities where, in some cases, they have been based for decades, to large urban areas with international airports and diverse talent pools.

These big cities are typically more expensive and don’t always offer the best incentive packages. But they don’t have to. Companies are flocking to them anyway because it’s increasingly difficult to manage corporate operations in smaller markets, Sweeney says.

“It’s not that those smaller cities are bad,” he says. “But the companies have evolved, and it’s difficult for them to continue doing business in those smaller markets.”


Why is it difficult doing business in a smaller city, and what do Charlotte and Nashville have that Baton Rouge doesn’t?

The answer to both questions is talent. Smaller markets don’t have enough of it. Larger markets—and even Charlotte and Nashville—do.

Didi Caldwell(Courtesy Global Location Strategies) Didi Caldwell

“There is a huge push for talent,” says consultant Didi Caldwell with the site selection firm Global Location Strategies. “It’s at the top of everyone’s list. Everyone is asking, ‘Where can we recruit and retain the best talent?’”

In announcing their relocations, the CEOs of both Albemarle and Amedisys suggested their decisions were based on the need to be near a large, well-educated workforce. In the case of Amedisys, Nashville has a concentration of health care companies and, as a result, the city has become something of a mecca for experts in health care law, finance and administration.

In the case of Albemarle, the greater Charlotte area is home to seven Fortune 500 companies and three others on the Fortune 1000 list. It’s also a highly desirable area and just a little more than two hours from the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham, which gives it access to a broad, deep pool of the country’s best and brightest.

Louisiana in general—and Baton Rouge in particular—get mixed results with respect to its pool of talent. The area has a concentration of engineers and has been trying to attract more professionals in the digital arts and STEM sectors. That helps explain why the IBM project was considered such an important win for the state. But the talent pool here is still relatively limited compared to bigger cities.

“It is one of the most important questions and topics for us to spend time on as a community,” Knapp says. “In America today, the war for talent is the war for economic development. It is a fundamental issue that we have to work on, improve every year, learn from the folks who are choosing to move here or moving away from here.”

If talent is No. 1 on the list of must-haves for a corporate headquarters site, proximity to a major airport is No. 2. In today’s global economy, corporate executives want—and even expect—to be able to fly to Europe or Asia with relative ease and efficiency.

Sweeney talks to clients about it all the time. When he’s drawing up a list of potential new sites for a company, cities that aren’t near an international or, at least, a hub airport don’t even make the long list, much less the short list, of finalists.

“We screen cities on all sorts of things, but the one we see the most is international air service,” he says. “If a company has to have it, they have to have it and they’re not willing to compromise.”

AirportWhile Baton Rouge officials discovered years ago that building a newer, larger international airport near the Capital Region would not be feasible, Baton Rouge and New Orleans have begun working together to jointly market Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner. Leaders of both cities’ business communities are actively negotiating with airlines to bring nonstop service from New Orleans to Europe. Having the combined markets lobby for the service makes the deal more attractive.

Airports in both cities have also tried to increase their overall flight service, with varying degrees of success. Executive with Baton Rouge Metro Airport are currently negotiating with the four major airlines that service Baton Rouge to add nonstop flights to Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago and New York—cities that research has shown to be the most popular destination out of this market. So far, though, they haven’t inked any deals.

Part of the problem is that cost-conscious airlines are cutting back on service in general, not adding it. Market size is also a problem. It’s difficult to get airlines to add more service to a market like Baton Rouge because the numbers, from the airline’s standpoint, don’t make sense. It costs an airline roughly $10 million to add a single new daily flight to this market, which means the airline is going to demand that the flight is full.

As a way of offsetting costs, the airport offers incentive packages that waive landing fees and provide marketing assistance. But federal regulations prohibit the airport from outright offering incentives in the form of passenger guarantees, like the one LED offered Albemarle. Only third parties can legally do that.

“The airline is in business to make money,” says Ralph Hennessy, Baton Rouge Metro Airport’s assistant director of aviation. “So while we think it would be nice to fly a particular route, if the airline is not going to make money it’s not going to come.”


While talent and air service are the biggest factors in attracting corporate headquarters, others also play a role in the decision-making process. Having a pro-business environment is critical, according to Jason Ford, a former LED project manager and current executive vice president at the Greater Houston Partnership. He says the so-called Texas Miracle of sustained economic development is based on four key pro-business principles: fair and predictable regulations, a low cost of doing business, tort reform and minimal union activity.

Has Louisiana made progress in these areas in recent years? Yes. Has it done enough?

“I don’t want to be prescriptive of what Louisiana should do,” Ford says. “I just want to point out the things that have helped headquarters projects be successful here.”

Education is another. Though the executives that run corporate headquarters are high earners, they still want decent public school options for their children and those of their employees. LED clearly tried to address this in the package it offered Albemarle. But while the incentive to develop “public school options” sounds good on paper, realistically it would have taken several years.

“Our governor just put $50 million in education and over $1 billion in early childhood education,” Ford says, of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “When you have trailing spouses and families who come with corporate managers and executives, the education component is critical. You need to look at the entire package.”

Then there are the quality of life factors. Parks and libraries. A vibrant nightlife scene. Arts, culture and entertainment options. Professional sports teams. Good roads and bike paths. Lifestyle options. A city with a “certain buzz,” as Caldwell puts it. An outward show of tolerance.

Several times in recent years—most recently, in 2014—the Metro Council has failed to take action on a measure that would have prohibited discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender people in housing and employment. Last summer, when the issue was again before the council, BRAC, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and other business leaders came out vocally supporting the ordinance. It failed anyway.

“Corporate headquarters are fighting for talent, and they want to see every barrier removed,” Knapp says. “The tolerance of the community plays a role in the ability to attract talent. It is part of the entire picture of a community’s quality of life.”

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of making a community attractive as a site for a company’s headquarters is that the quality of life factors companies seek are the same factors they bring when their C-level executives move into a community. It’s a chicken-and-egg dynamic that feeds on itself.

“Executives like to be among their equals, their peers,” Ford says. “There is a camaraderie and a brotherhood. They like to be in company with others who have led similar size companies and industries so they can compare notes and learn from each other.”


Not every corporate entity would agree that a bigger market makes for a better home office locale. Bernhard Capital Partners, Jim Bernard’s private equity firm that is building a family of industrial services companies similar to The Shaw Group he once headed, recently announced Baton Rouge will be the home office for a newly rechristened Brown and Root, once one of the country’s leading industrial service providers. Baton Rouge also will be the corporate office for the other companies under the BCP umbrella.

Edgen Murray and H&E Equipment Services, two publicly traded companies in the industrial construction sector, also call Baton Rouge home. And publicly traded Lamar Advertising, which has been based in Baton Rouge for decades, is now the largest outdoor advertising company in the U.S.

(Photo by Brian Baiamonte) Lamar Advertising CEO Sean Reilly(Photo by Brian Baiamonte) Lamar Advertising CEO Sean Reilly

Lamar CEO Sean Reilly travels frequently, doing business all over the country. His company employs a staff of hundreds of creative professionals. He says finding talent locally has never been a problem for him.

“I guess if you’re a Fortune 500 company doing business globally there might be more convenient places to be,” Reilly says. “But as far as I’m concerned, Baton Rouge doesn’t have to do anything to make itself more attractive to Lamar. It’s great for our workforce, and we have no problem getting folks to be a part of our team.”

State and local economic development officials like to point to companies like Lamar, H&E and Edgen Murray as evidence that Baton Rouge does have plenty to offer large companies that do business on a national, or even global, scale. Part of their economic development strategy focuses on helping other local companies expand so there will more homegrown Lamars and Albemarles in Baton Rouge one day.

But they acknowledge the need to do more to attract corporate headquarters here from elsewhere. At the state level, LED is trying to offer more customized solutions—like the Albemarle deal—to companies that are eyeing the area.

The state is also beginning to actively market the New Orleans-Baton Rouge super region as a single locale.

(Courtesy Louisiana Economic Development) Steven Grissom(Courtesy Louisiana Economic Development) Steven Grissom

“It makes so much more sense,” LED Secretary Steven Grissom says. “The super region offers a level of resource each city is not individually able to match on its own.”

Grissom also points to LED’s FastStart program, a workforce development initiative that provides customized employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery for eligible, new or expanding companies—all at no cost.

BRAC, meanwhile, is actively targeting companies that are a good fit for the local economy. The agency has identified five sectors in which the region is already strong—chemicals and energy, fabric and metals, back office operations, software design and digital media—and is seeking out companies in those areas because they’re more likely to consider relocating here.

“We are targeting headquarters where we think there is a natural talent alignment in the state, where we feel there is an opportunity to position Louisiana competitively,” Grissom says.

BRAC is also trying to do a better job selling the city and state by pointing to the many quality-of-life assets it has—for instance, the parks and libraries, the LSU lakes, the state’s Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, and the fact that five of the top-performing school districts in the state are located in the nine-parish Capital Region.

“Too often we only think about the negative stories and we only talk about those,” he says. “There are positive stories, too.”

BRAC is also becoming more active and vocal about some of the quality of life issues that are holding the region back. It is spearheading a group that is trying to force the state’s political leadership to get serious about addressing traffic and infrastructure. It is also involved with efforts to address workforce readiness and is out in front on state fiscal reform and governmental issues.

Is it too little too late?

Not necessarily. If a community decides it wants to target corporate headquarters, it’s possible to devise a strategy. That’s how Nashville, for instance, was able to become something of a center for health care companies.

But experts like Sweeney say it’s important to be realistic about what can be achieved and how long it might take. Attracting corporate headquarters takes years, and national trends suggest companies are moving away from markets like Baton Rouge, not toward them.

“You can do it,” Caldwell says. “But if you’re a smaller market like Baton Rouge, it is going to be something of an uphill slog.”

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I like that Baton Rouge and New Orleans Airport are now working together it should been that way for a long time. The article say "While Baton Rouge officials discovered years ago that building a newer, larger international airport near the Capital Region would not be feasible," they should have built that new airport whoever decide it wasn't feasible must been drunk. A better airport, more sidewalks and better transit system will take Baton Rouge/EBR  to the next level to bring in more businesses.

Edited by greg225
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News roundup: LSU AgCenter receives $1.25 million grant for project to improve rural health … River Road improvements downtown net DDD international award … Owner of 54 Sonic franchise locations in Louisiana bestowed with company’s highest honor          

Green is the color: The LSU AgCenter has been awarded a two-year, $1.25 million grant that will fund research and outreach projects aimed at reducing obesity and chronic diseases in Madison, St. Helena and Tensas parishes. The grant is from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Partner institutions working with the AgCenter include the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The LSU AgCenter has more details on the grant award and the project it will fund.

Rolling on the river: The Downtown Development District has been awarded a Downtown Merit Award from the International Downtown Association for its work to improve access to the Mississippi River along River Road in downtown Baton Rouge. The project was among 16 entries in the Public Space category, which recognizes capital improvements that enhance the urban design, physical function or economic viability of downtown and the community. “The image of River Road in the downtown area has changed as it has become a ‘complete street’ used and appreciated by pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles,” says DDD Executive Director Davis Rhorer in a prepared statement.

In the hall: Ted Kergan of Lafayette-based Kergan Brothers Inc., which owns and operates 54 Sonic Drive-In restaurants in Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Acadiana and New Orleans, has been honored with the restaurant chain’s highest award. Kergan recently received the Troy Smith Hall of Fame Award, named after the Sonic Drive-In founder, at the company’s annual convention in Kansas City. The award is annually given to one franchisee who has worked with Sonic for many years and has “made a significant contribution in terms of leadership, growth, positive influence and brand image,” according to a press release, which has more details.

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Airports in both cities have also tried to increase their overall flight service, with varying degrees of success. Executive with Baton Rouge Metro Airport are currently negotiating with the four major airlines that service Baton Rouge to add nonstop flights to Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago and New York—cities that research has shown to be the most popular destination out of this market. So far, though, they haven’t inked any deals.


Maybe try to get Southwest to operate to Midway.   The big 4 will have to respond by offering more connections.  

I'm glad they at least recognize a major problem with Baton Rouge that needs to be addressed.   A new connection to Chicago and New York would be HUGE for the city even with just one daily flight.  That opens up so many more destinations in the mid west and north east.   Even just a 5 day/week non-stop between MSY and one of the European hubs would be a major win.

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News roundup: Metairie businessman buys Baton Rouge office building for $2M … Minor renovations, but no big changes for Ruth’s Chris following $2.35M sale … Louisiana Spirits lands distribution deal with Stoli Group 

Done deal: A Metairie businessman has paid $2 million for the Oaks of Kingsbridge office building and property at 3233 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd., near the intersection of Justice Avenue. Elite Investment Group LLC, whose sole member is Jason Adams, bought the building from a group of sellers including Alabama-based McAndrew LLC; Texas-based Bratten Investments Ltd.; and Harris Investments. Attempts to reach the buyer, Jason Adams, for comment on his plans for the building were unsuccessful.

Here’s the plan: The new owner of the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse building at 4836 Constitution Ave. is planning some minor renovations to the building, but no major changes are coming to the restaurant or its operations. As Daily Report first reported Monday afternoon, Chris Bachman purchased the building and land the restaurant sits on for $2.35 million. Bachman has owned the business for four years. A new walk-in cooler and cooking line is being installed in the kitchen, Bachman says, but there are no other renovations planned right now.

Going national: Lacassine-based Louisiana Spirits has reached a distribution agreement with Stoli Group USA under which the New York-based liquor giant will begin distributing Bayou Rum nationally at the start of next year, the companies announced today. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a news release says it is a multiyear agreement and “start of a long-term partnership.” The distribution deal also will enable Louisiana Spirits to take Bayou Rum international, according to the companies, which have more details on today’s announcement.       New Orleans firm picks up three Baton Rouge offices for $1.2M    

In the three office buildings that it recently purchased for a combined $1.2 million, a New Orleans-based firm saw an opportunity to finally enter the Baton Rouge market after years of watching from the sidelines. It also saw a chance to pick up the type of properties that are rare in the Crescent City.

“These residential type office buildings that are clustered in a campus setting like you have in that area right off Sherwood Forest, that’s something we don’t see much here in the New Orleans area,” says Vincent Vastola, director of real estate for Marrero Land & Improvement Association.

Marrero, whose portfolio includes shopping centers, retail space, industrial and office parks primarily in the New Orleans area, purchased the Baton Rouge offices from R&C Properties LLC. The offices, all of which are 100% occupied, are located at 11960 Bricksome Ave., 11924 Justice Ave. and 12035 Justice Ave. All three are located just off South Sherwood Forest Boulevard, and they range in size from roughly 3,100 to 3,500 square feet.

“We have been looking at the Baton Rouge market for years in order to diversify our portfolio, and these made sense for us because they are all fully leased with a diversified group of tenants,” Vastola says. “This is our first acquisition of this type of properties, and we’re hoping that this will just be the beginning for us. We think the Baton Rouge market is strong based on some of the reports we’ve been looking at for years, and it looks like it should continue.”  

Coursey property owner hopes to attract tenant with newly renovated space

When The Health-Nut Hut closed its doors at 11954 Coursey Blvd. in April after 19 years in business, property owner Aieree Lee decided to use the vacancy as an opportunity to give her space a makeover as she looks for a new tenant.

Lee, who owns the three Lee’s Cleaners dry cleaning locations in Baton Rouge, has renovated the floor, painted the 2,800-square-foot space and contracted Premier South roofing company to repair leaks in the ceiling. With all of those repairs, Lee believes her transformed space is the ideal place for any business looking to locate or establish themselves in the area.  

“I’m welcoming anyone who is starting a new business or someone who is relocating their business,” Lee says.

Having been in business for 30 years, Lee understands the challenges new business owners often face, which is why she’s setting the rent for her space at $2,000 a month for the first three years.

The average going rate along Coursey Boulevard for available retail space, according to active listings, is generally between $15 and $17 per square foot. At a monthly rent of $2,000, the 2,800-square-foot space works out to a mere 71 cents per square foot.

“We’d like to help people who are starting a new business, and we are willing to work with them and give them an opportunity in this area because the $2,000 rent is very low compared to what others are asking,” she explains. 

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Market Plaza Office Park building sells for $495K    

A newly constructed office building measuring roughly 3,400 square feet in the Market Plaza Office Park off Coursey Boulevard, between Airline Highway and South Sherwood Forest Boulevard, has been sold for $495,000.

The buyer, Dr. Markus John of Baton Rouge, plans to move his medical practice into the larger space in the two suite designed building at 4021 WE Heck Court, says Chris Pike of Mike Falgoust & Associates Commercial Real Estate, who represented the seller in the deal, Ladner Investment Properties LLC. David Vercher with Keller Williams Commercial Real Estate represented the buyer.

“It is my understanding that the buyer intends to occupy the larger suite, which is 2,224-square-feet, and then offer the smaller, 1,200-square-foot space for lease,” says Pike.

The building is only one in the office park that was not included in a recent $1.75 million deal. In mid September, Coursey Condos purchased eight pad sites and two office buildings in the park from Destiny Interests.

“This was always the one pad site that Destiny Interests did not own. Ladner Investments had bought the pad site years ago and built this building,” Pike explains.

The office park is located next to The Chimes East on Coursey. It is currently comprised of 14 pad sites measuring between 3,000 and 6,000 square feet, six of which have seen offices built on them since 2012. Destiny Interests breathed new life into the development in 2011, when it purchased the property out of foreclosure after the initial developer shelved the project a year earlier.

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19.5 acres off Tiger Bend purchased for $1.6M for new subdivision

Developer Kevin Nguyen has purchased 19.5 acres of vacant land on Tiger Bend Road near the intersection of Antioch Road for $1.6 million, on which he plans to build a new 105-lot subdivision called Rose Gardens.

“They’re going to be typical garden home lots, similar to what they have in Cross Gates,” says Nguyen, referring to the subdivision located next to where his new development is planned.

Design plans for Rose Gardens were approved by the Planning Commission in April, and Nguyen says he hopes to begin construction within the next 60 days. Homes should start being completed in the subdivision sometime next summer.

Homes in the subdivision will measure about 2,000 square feet each and will be priced around $250,000, Nguyen says.

“It’s going to be a really nice development with some common area and a nice entrance,” says Nguyen. “We’re just waiting on approval for some of the construction plans now, and hopefully we can get the whole thing rolling maybe next month or December.”                       New craft beer bar in the works at former Capital City Grill location on South Sherwood Forest     

A new craft beer bar and sports restaurant could soon nestle into a vacant space on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard that previously housed Capital City Grill.

Phillip LeDoux and some business partners are in the early stages of planning the Tap House, which they hope to open sometime next year. He declined to name his partners, but says they have been involved in the Baton Rouge business scene for at least 20 years.

LeDoux has filed a rezoning request with the Planning Commission to have the site at 3535 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. changed from a restaurant commercial alcoholic beverage permit C-AB-1 to a bar/lounge commercial alcoholic beverage permit C-AB-2.

“A previous request for C-AB-2 was approved for another unit on this same site,” LeDoux writes in his application. He adds in the application that infrastructure and public services would not be impacted because the space had housed a restaurant in the past.

The Capital City Grill location on Sherwood and Newcastle Avenue closed in June 2014. The downtown location remains open.

LeDoux declines to go into specifics about the restaurant, saying it is still early in the planning process and things could change, but says he and his partners are closely watching the ordinance proposed by Metro Councilman Ryan Heck that would allow brewpubs and microdistilleries to operate in the city-parish.

The Planning Commission will take up the Tap House request at its Nov. 16 meeting.

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SSO work to continue with $19.5M worth of projects in Highland-Kenilworth area             

Work will soon begin on the next phase of the roughly $1.3 billion parish-wide Sanitary Sewer Overflow overhaul. A $19.5-million portion of the upgrade will include the construction of four new pumping stations and system control buildings in the Highland-Kenilworth area, at 7220 Boone Dr.; 9790 Bluebonnet Blvd; 1375 Highland Park Dr.; and 3850 Nicholson Dr.

Each of the four stations and buildings will cost $3 million and will include electrical controls, variable frequency drives and other instruments and components needed for the pump station, says Adam Smith, chief of wastewater and engineering technology for the city-parish. According to construction permits, three of the buildings will be 500 square feet and the fourth with be 723 square feet. Each building will be climate-controlled and will house a generator.

Wharton-Smith Inc. of Sanford, Florida, will be the contractor for the construction. Smith says officials hope to finish the Highland-Kenilworth part of the project by Dec. 2016. The work will be staggered and not done all at one time.

The SSO project is the result of a 2002 federal consent decree East Baton Rouge Parish entered into with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state of Louisiana to fix the crumbling sewer system. A September status report for the SSO shows 66 projects totaling $765 million have been completed, 28 projects totaling $305 million are underway and 16 projects totaling $190 million are in the design phase.

A number of SSO projects are expected to go out to bid in the coming months, including the Airline Highway pipeline project group B, Sherwood Forest-Goodwood Boulevard sewer area upgrades, Flannery Road-Florida Boulevard area rehabilitation project phase one, Oak Villa Boulevard-Monterrey Boulevard sewer area upgrades and Florida Boulevard pump stations improvements.

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Broadmoor Theatre demolition underway, additional retail planned at Broadmoor Village Shopping Center  

Fifty years after it opened its doors as Baton Rouge’s premier movie venue, the Broadmoor Theatre is in the midst of being demolished. Work to take down the dilapidated theater—which has been shuttered for a little more than a decade now—began early last week and is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

“There were a bunch of people out there watching the demolition on the first day,” says Austin Earhart of Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, who handles leasing at the Broadmoor Village Shopping Center. “And there’s been a lot of people who have called me to express interest in seeing the theater one last time, or they just seem to want to talk about their memories of being there. It’s definitely a part of history here, but we’re really glad to be moving on with our plans for that space.”

In place of the theater—as well as another 42,000-square-foot building neighboring the theater that was torn down last year—Clark Heebe, owner of the shopping center at 9620 Florida Blvd., plans to expand the parking lot. There’s already ample parking at the center, which is anchored by a Planet Fitness and Hi Nabor grocery store, but Earhart says Heebe is hoping the extra spaces will be needed in the long term.

“They’re probably going to end up with more parking than any other shopping center in the city. It’s a huge area that is going to be paved, striped and landscaped,” he says. “But if they decide to build something else on that side of the property where they have some vacant land, then it will probably be in demand.”

In the short-term, a small retail strip center is planned on the opposite side of the shopping center property, near the intersection of Cora Drive and Florida Boulevard. The development will measure about 7,500 square feet, with enough room for five to six tenants. Earhart says he’s negotiating with potential retailers and restaurants now. The center is expected to be completed in about five months.

About 11,000 square feet of the 80,000 square feet of total space in the Broadmoor Village Shopping Center remains vacant. Earhart says a lease was recently signed with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles for an Express OMV office that will occupy about 4,000 square feet and open in the next three to four months.

Office park planned on Jefferson Highway between Drusilla and Bluebonnet 

The developer of the Jefferson Pointe retail center at 9844 Jefferson Highway has plans to build a 2.9-acre office park about a mile down the road, but he is waiting to get the green light from the city-parish Planning Commission.

Dr. Jay Yalamanchili says he wants to build something unique for the 32,000-square-foot development at 9026 Jefferson Highway, which will be called Westminster Office Park. But plans are still in the early stages, and he has not yet hired a contractor or architect. Yalamanchili says the office park’s design and construction will be similar to Jefferson Pointe, which was built in 2013 and is home to Cut Fine Jewelers and Pot & Paddle Jambalaya Kitchen.

According to the plan Yalamanchili has filed with the Planning Commission, the park will have 112 parking spots and the commercial and office space will fill only 25% of the total acreage. For the remaining space, 45% would be pavement and the remaining 30% would be open space.

Yalamanchili filed the permit application in July, but he was told he needed to conduct additional impact studies and submit those results before filing the application. He resubmitted the plan last week, and it will be taken up at the Planning Commission’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Developing the infrastructure on the vacant lot—which is to be located next to the offices of Maestri Murrell Commercial Real Estate, between Drusilla Lane and Bluebonnet Boulevard—will take about three to five months and construction is expected to take about two years, Yalamanchili says.

The office park will be divided into five or six brick buildings with shingled roofs. Yalamanchili, an allergologist and immunologist with offices in Denham Springs and Gonzales, says he hopes to turn one of the buildings in the office park into a medical office for a 24-urgent care facility or walk-in clinic. The others will either be sold or leased. The office park will be built piecemeal with only one or two buildings under construction at one time, he adds.

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Hey guys, I heard that Magpie Cafe is opening a second location in the renovated Watermark Hotel proposed on Third Street!

BTW my GeauxDowntownBR page is now on Facebook as well as Instagram. I'm up to almost 7000 followers on Instagram so I decided to start a Facebook page to reach a larger audience.

Thanks guys! Keep up the great work on here!

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Just checked out the Facebook page(i'm not on Facebook)...that is excellent work! Impressive following! Can appreciate your enthusiasm for Downtown BR sure has come a long way! Keep up the great work!  Feel free to post some of those photos here...:)

My favorite thumbs up emoticon is no longer here on UP since the new format

Been meaning to get back downtown...been too busy

Edited by richyb83

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May plans LSU Aveune-type subdivision on 3.5-acre Rodney Drive property                

Developer Daryl May plans to emulate the homes that line LSU Avenue in his new proposed subdivision he calls his “little oasis” along a 3.5-acre tract on Rodney Drive near Highland Road.

“I grew up in south Baton Rouge, and I really cherish the older homes that are unique,” says May, the owner of Daryl May Construction. “LSU Avenue in my opinion is a charming, quaint, very neighborhood friendly street.”

The proposed subdivision will be on a private dead-end road off Rodney Drive and have on each side six houses built using a mixture of classical, Greek revival and traditional architecture, May says. The subdivision may be gated, but May has not decided on that yet.

The lots along the private road will be about 95 feet wide and 140 feet long, and will cost $225,000 to $250,000. The custom homes on each lot will be around 3,000 square feet and cost $650,000 to $900,000.

None of the lots have been presold, and May says he is not at the point where he is ready to presell any land, but he adds there has been considerable interest in the project including from some builders who want to be part of the subdivision.

The Planning Commission will take up May’s request on Nov. 16 to subdivide the 3.5-acre property not far from Kenilworth Parkway into 12 lots. If approved by the Planning Commission, May says construction on the private road will begin around Feb. 1 and he hopes to start construction on the homes by the summer.

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News alert: Baton Rouge metro area forecast to add 15,100 jobs over next two years   

Plummeting oil prices over the past year have taken a toll on the state’s employment numbers and negatively affected the economic outlook for 2016-17, according to economists Loren Scott and James Richardson, who are delivering their annual Louisiana Economic Outlook at Business Report’s Top 100 Luncheon this afternoon.

“When energy prices are strong, the state prospers,” the report by Scott and Richardson says. “When oil prices are declining it is tough … this has been one of those bad years, and it reflected in 2015 employment numbers and the prospects for 2016.”

Oil-producing regions of the state, namely the Lafayette and Houma areas, have been particularly hard hit, while Baton Rouge and New Orleans have seen very modest growth.  Among the highlights of the report:

  • The nine-parish Baton Rouge metro area is poised to see job growth of 2.2% in 2016 and 1.5% in 2017. Total job growth in 2016 is expected to be at 8,900, while the area is forecast to add another 6,200 jobs the following year. The area has about $8 billion in industrial projects under construction currently.
  • New Orleans is projected to show meager growth of 0.5% in 2016, or 2,900 jobs, and a slightly better growth rate of 0.8% in 2017, or 5,100 jobs.
  • The state overall is expected to see a slight increase in job growth of around 0.8% in 2016 and 1% in 2017. Total job additions are expected to be around 15,400 in 2016 and 19,600 the following year.
  • About half of the $125.1 billion in announced industrial projects are under construction now.
  • Oil prices should rebound to $55 per barrel in 2016 and $60 per barrel in 2017, though enormous uncertainty surrounds those projections and prices could actually fluctuate from between $30 and $90 per barrel.

The Top 100 Luncheon wraps up the Louisiana Business Symposium, which is presented by Business Report and is taking place at the Crowne Plaza today. The symposium kicked off with the Best Places to Work Awards Breakfast this morning, at which the area’s top employers were honored and executives from a few of the firms participated in a panel discussion on what employers can do to foster employee engagement. Read Daily Report PM for full coverage on the 2016-17 economic outlook.

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