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greg225    187

Boardwalk Place Business Center sells for $3.4M 

The Boardwalk Place Business Center near the intersection of Interstate 12 and South Sherwood Forest Boulevard has been sold for $3.4 million.

The roughly 40,000-square-foot center at 11224 Boardwalk Drive is home to businesses such as ABL Management Inc., Advantage Personnel and Aspen Clinic, as well as a regional office of CVS Pharmacy, among others.

The center was sold by Sherwood Twelve LLC, represented by R. David Phillips Jr.. The buyer, Boardwalk Square LLC, was represented by Joneah Johnson, who is an agent and attorney for David Clint Johnson, according to sales documents filed with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court today.

Attempts to reach both the seller and buyer were unsuccessful as of this afternoon’s deadline.    https://www.businessreport.com/article/boardwalk-place-business-center-sells-3-4m

News roundup: Jones Creek Road to close just south of Coursey this weekend for sewer work … Megabus partners with CATS to move service to Florida Boulevard terminal …

Detour ahead: Jones Creek Road will be shuttered to thru traffic this weekend just south of Coursey Boulevard beginning at 8 p.m. Friday so an 8-inch sewer line can be installed across Jones Creek between the nearby Walgreen’s and Circle K stores, Mayor Kip Holden’s office announced today. The roadway is expected to reopen at 8 p.m. Sunday. The suggested detour for northbound thru traffic during the closure is taking Market Street off Jones Creek Road to Coursey Boulevard, then back to Jones Creek Road. Southbound thru traffic should take Coursey to Market Street, and then back to Jones Creek. Jones Creek Road businesses will remain open and accessible.

All together now: Megabus service from Baton Rouge to Texas and New Orleans is now operating at the Capital Area Transit System terminal on Florida Boulevard, CATS announced today. Megabus previously served Baton Rouge from a location on Third and Florida streets. Last month, the service moved to the CATS terminal at 2222 Florida Blvd. Tickets must still be purchased through Megabus and are not sold at the CATS terminal. Megabus provides passenger service to and from New Orleans, Houston and San Antonio from Baton Rouge daily.    https://www.businessreport.com/article/news-roundup-jones-creek-road-close-just-south-coursey-weekend-sewer-work-megabus-partners-cats-move-service-florida-boulevard-terminal-edwards-vitter-o

 

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greg225    187

THRIVE Academy breaks ground on new campus, releases renderings            

Ground has been broken on the first phase of the new THRIVE Academy campus at 3585 Brightside Lane, and the charter boarding school serving at-risk students has released detailed renderings and site plans of the campus.

In the first phase of construction, which got underway Thursday and is being done by The Lemoine Company, workers will build one of the two planned dormitories. A second dorm, main school building and athletics center will be built at a later date, but those facilities are not expected to be ready when school opens next year, says Executive Director Sarah Broome.

THRIVE is currently housed in the Family and Youth Services Center on Government Street near Interstate 110. The school currently teaches 110 students in the sixth through ninth grades. Next year, there will be 160 students in the sixth through 10th grades. The goal is to eventually bring in 350 students in the sixth through 12th grades at the new campus, Broome says.

The original plan was to build the campus all at once, but hiccups with financing forced Broome to switch to building the campus in phases. Broome filed a new construction plan earlier this month with the city-parish Planning Commission, which will vote on the application at its Dec. 14 meeting.

The first phase of construction is expected to be completed by the start of the next school year. Broome says she hopes to have the campus completely finished in three years, depending on financing.

See the renderings and site plans of THRIVE Academy campus by Antunovich Associates                   https://www.businessreport.com/article/thrive-academy-breaks-ground-new-campus-releases-renderings    

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greg225    187

Property for Tapestry Park off Jefferson Highway sold to developer for $1.56M     

Construction got underway today on the Tapestry Park multifamily complex off Jefferson Highway following the closing on land for the development Friday.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Arlington Properties bought the roughly 4 acres of vacant land, which is located just behind Panera Bread in the Bocage neighborhood, from Saamia Development LLC for $1,556,172, according to sales documents.

Arlington Properties Vice President Dave Ellis says the 124-unit development should take about 10 to 12 months to complete.

“It should open in late fall 2016,” he says.

When it was proposed early this year, Tapestry Park met with opposition from residents and some nearby businesses, who were concerned about increased traffic in the area. Eventually, the Metro Council approved the necessary rezoning measure, due in large part to extensive outreach efforts with neighborhood groups on the part of the developers.

Aside from the development off Jefferson Highway, Arlington Properties is also developing a 276-unit multifamily complex at Long Farm on Airline Highway. That project got underway about a month ago. The projects are the first in the Baton Rouge market for the company, though it plans to pursue further developments here due to what it sees as excessive demand for multifamily projects.  https://www.businessreport.com/article/property-tapestry-park-off-jefferson-highway-sold-developer-1-56m

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greg225    187

Video game developers at Baton Rouge technology park look to release five games over next year   

Baton Rouge natives Michael Taranto and his younger brother Matthew Taranto gained experience for developing video games by playing video games—lots and lots of video games.

Combining years of yelling at the screen in frustration with the knowledge of what makes an exceptional game and a shared love of music, the brothers jumped headfirst into developing a game two years ago while still maintaining their day jobs. Sometime in the next two months, their work will culminate in the release of their first game: Tadpole Treble for Nintendo’s Wii U

When the game hits store shelves, it will mark the first of five games scheduled for release during the first half of 2016 by a group of developers in the Louisiana Technology Park. Four developers work in the tech park’s Level Up Lab, which focuses on fledgling digital media and high-tech firms, while the fifth plys his trade in the tech park’s incubator.

Tadpole Treble is a side-scrolling game that weaves together components of musical adventure with the classic “gotta get home” storyline to tell the tale of Baton, a young tadpole lost in treacherous waterways. The player must navigate Baton back home through rivers and streams using musical notes to create songs, some with lyrics, to complete each level.

‘We really wanted the players to have fun with it,” Michael Taranto says.

Godric Johnson, a Scotlandville High grad and head of Jetstreame Studios, is another developer at the tech park with a project that’s about 50% complete.

“I feel we’re pioneering the new digital age of game development right here,” says Johnson, whose is developing Cyberpunk Casanova, a dating simulator set in a Blade Runner-like dystopian future, with designer Derek Scott. The game could be ready for release on PC and mobile gaming platforms around March.

“The independent scene, game development scene is huge, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” Johnson says.

And with game developer EA Sports housed on the LSU campus and tech giant IBM settling in downtown Baton Rouge, the independent game development scene could grow in the next few years. Louisiana Technology Park Executive Director Stephen Loy says such companies are huge assets to the local game development community because they expose people to new technologies and ideas.

“I think that helps lift up the whole technology region in Baton Rouge,” Loy says.

Other games in development at the tech park with tentative 2016 release dates are:

  • Quest of Souls, a ‘90s throwback game developed by Cody Louviere and King Crow Studios that will combine old-school pixel graphics with 360-degree camera angles to create an arcade-style shoot’em up game with role-playing and action elements. The game features three playable characters, including Louviere’s Pembroke Welsh Corgi as a dragon hunter, and could be released in May or June. “We went from a somewhat similar to a Lord of the Rings-style world to something that anything is possible,” Louviere says. “We’re not limiting it to fantasy. If aliens show up at some point, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
  • Limit Theory, an open-world procedural Sci-Fi game inspired by Star Wars in which algorithms create a realistic environment with elements of randomness where nothing is ever the same twice, allowing gamers to theoretically craft a story that never ends. Developer Josh Parnell says he hopes to beta test his game in six months and release the full version soon after. “When you can build a game and still be surprised by the experience it gives you, I think that is tremendous and that’s what I hope to get out of Limit Theory—what I know I’ll get out of Limit Theory,” says Parnell, a Baton Rouge native and Stanford graduate.
  • Road Redemption, developed by Pixel Dash Studios, an ode to the iconic Road Rash games with updated physics and realistic graphics. Players race down long stretches of blacktop, rooftops and deserts on motorcycles while using whatever they can to knock their opponents from their motorcycles. Jason Tate, co-founder of Pixel Dash, says early versions of the game are out on Steam, a gaming platform on computers, and the full version is expected to be released around March on PC and Mac. “We thought there was a fan base out there for it,” Tate says.

While the developers at the tech park may all be competing for the same dollars in the gaming market, there is a camaraderie among them because each developer knows the struggles the others are enduring. They also lend their respective talents to each other, working on several games besides their own in various capacities, and act as a sounding board for ideas and frustrations.

“My game is only (at the point it is) because I have every other video game company helping me create it right now,” Louviere says.   https://www.businessreport.com/article/video-game-developers-baton-rouge-technology-park-look-release-five-games-next-year

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dan326    303

Townhome complex planned for Jefferson Highway near Hoo Shoo Too Road

 
  

Baton Rouge developers Corbin Ladner and Jamison Chauvin are poised to begin construction in the next few weeks on a 24-unit townhouse complex on Jefferson Highway near Hoo Shoo Too Road, across the street from the Willowbrook commercial center that’s under construction.

The townhomes will come in two- and three-bedroom floor plans, each with an enclosed garage, and will sell for about $179,900 to $199,900 each, Pike says. The partners hope to have the first of five proposed buildings completed in July. Four of the buildings will include five townhomes within, while the fifth building will be composed of four.

He adds a subdivision may also be coming to the property adjacent to Mallard Cove.

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greg225    187

Advocate co-owner John Georges calls new headquarters, open today, 'symbol of our confidence in the future'        jpeg?1449511238723jpeg?1449511238751 

 

A new era for The Advocate begins today with the official opening of its new headquarters on Rieger Road in Baton Rouge, next to the paper’s printing plant.

 

The building will house the Baton Rouge-based news staff, as well as the advertising, circulation and information technology departments, about 220 people in all. The Advocate also has news, sales and distribution offices in more than a dozen locations in south Louisiana.

John Georges, co-owner of The Advocate, said the new building is a symbol that the paper will remain the premier news and advertising source with a long-term commitment to having locally owned newspapers in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Acadiana.

“My wife, Dathel, and I bought The Advocate to keep it strong and maintain its historic role as a chronicler of the varied and rich life of south Louisiana,” Georges said. “The new building is a symbol of our confidence in the future.”

Dan Shea, president and publisher of the paper, said the new building is better suited for a modern media company, with improved technology and a more open floor plan that uses space more efficiently. A Webcast studio built into the newsroom will facilitate the growth of video on theadvocate.com.

Since 2007, the paper has rented space for its operations in a building on the campus of the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.

“One thing readers should know is that the move to our own building saves hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, money that will be flowed back into the quality of our paper and websites,” Shea said.

Shea said the location was chosen to reunite the business office and the production plant and to make The Advocate office a more visible presence in Baton Rouge.

Dominating the busy Interstate 10 interchange at Siegen Lane, the iconic glass building features a large electronic sign that will broadcast continual news updates and a lighting scheme that will celebrate the seasons and civic events.

Already, the building has been lit with the tricolored flag of France after the Paris terrorist attacks, and it will soon be lit with Christmas colors, and purple and gold on LSU game days.

In the two-story lobby, a mural will celebrate south Louisiana with more than 40 enlarged photos from The Advocate’s archive.

Georges decided the lobby will link two large community rooms that will soon be available to civic and social groups in the evenings and weekends. Early next year, the newspaper will hold an open house for members of the community who would like to tour the new building.

Beginning this morning, the public will be directed to the new building to pay bills, place obituaries, obtain back copies and conduct other business that used to be done on Bluebonnet Boulevard.

The newsroom will continue to be housed in the old building until early next year. All phone numbers will remain the same.

The building was designed by the Baton Rouge firm Remson Haley Heprin Architects and was built under budget and ahead of schedule by The Lemoine Co.

The paper is renovating a historic building on St. Charles Avenue near Lee Circle to house the news and business offices of The New Orleans Advocate. That building will be completed sometime during the summer.    http://theadvocate.com/news/14190018-34/new-advocate-hq-opens-in

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richyb83    960

Really like the top pic the way it illuminates.....still wonder  what the old Advocate property (new IBM Block) would have looked like had these two  new buildings  been morphed into ONE nice building...probably at least 6-stories...could have thrown a parking deck (couple more floors to go underneath)...But had the cool streetscape with Ticker scrolling..

The electronic sign will be more visible from I-10 than Lafayette Street/River Road i guess...

Edited by richyb83

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greg225    187
1 hour ago, richyb83 said:

Really like the top pic the way it illuminates.....still wonder  what the old Advocate property (new IBM Block) would have looked like had these two  new buildings had been morphed into ONE nice building...probably at least 6-stories...could have thrown a parking deck (couple more floors to go underneath...But had the cool streetscape with Ticker scrolling..

The electronic sign will be more visible from I-10 than Lafayette Street/River Road i guess...

It would have have been nice if the Advocate was downtown don't know why they didn't considered it.

Edited by greg225

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mr. bernham    125
10 hours ago, greg225 said:

It would have have been nice if the Advocate was downtown don't know why they didn't considered it.

Parking garages are expensive to build. Easier and cheaper to consolidate all of your services in one place, and one that's easy to get to for most employees. 

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greg225    187

Higher demand in Baton Rouge leads LandBros to move drone business operations from New Orleans

Though the company will continue offer its services in New Orleans and the surrounding areas, drone aerial photography company LandBros is in the process of closing on office space in Baton Rouge and moving its operations here.

Danny Landry, who founded the company a little more than a year ago with his brother, Kevin Landry, says demand is driving the move.

“We’ve just found ourselves driving to the Lake Charles and central Louisiana areas more and more, and the areas surrounding Baton Rouge,” says Danny Landry. “By moving the operations to Baton Rouge, it helps us out a lot with the travel and time costs. And there’s also just a lot of big projects in the area, and we’re working on quite a few of them.”

For example, LandBros just finished working on a project for The Water Campus, Danny Landry says. The move is also something of a homecoming for the Landrys, who are Baton Rouge natives. Kevin Landry already lives here, and Danny is in the process of moving here from New Orleans.

When LandBros was launched last year, it was the first company in Louisiana to get an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones for commercial use. Since then, a handful of other companies in the state have also received an exemption, but Danny Landry says none of them are currently working in the Capital Region.

Because the Landrys both have experience working in construction, they’ve focused their company on servicing the industrial construction industry. Its ever-growing list of clients—which has expanded tenfold since the company was founded—includes Turner Industries, Brown & Root, CB&I, The Lemoine Co. and Louisiana CAT.

LandBros has capitalized on being on the forefront of the burgeoning commercial drone industry, and the company’s services stretch far beyond simple aerial photography.

“What I say is we’re a data collection firm that creates efficiencies on job sites,” says Danny Landry, explaining the company is providing clients everything from inventory management and project progress monitoring to facility inspections and 3-D modeling. “Whether that’s tracking asphalt on a job site or generating a progress model, we’re here to increase efficiency. And we’re really just in the infancy of it all now, which is very exciting. This technology is only going to be used more and more as time progresses. We’re growing very quickly, and 2016 is certainly going to be a very big year for us.”

Read a recent Business Report feature on LandBros.     https://www.businessreport.com/article/higher-demand-baton-rouge-leads-landbros-move-drone-business-operations-new-orleans

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greg225    187

Baton Rouge-based digital consulting firm purchases new office to continue growth    

It’s hard to fit 30 people comfortably into a 2,300-square-foot building or find adequate parking for everyone.

Click Here Publishing, a national digital consulting company headquartered in Baton Rouge with satellite offices in New Orleans and Palm Beach, Florida, remedied that situation this week when it closed on a deal with Inpro Enterprises for a 6,500-square-foot office building at 9448 Brookline Ave. for $625,000.

The purchase allows Click Here Publishing to move out of Suite 500 at 4528 Bennington Ave., where Bo White, founder and CEO of the company, says they were putting employees desk to desk.

White says he hopes to move into the new space on Jan. 15 after workers give the inside a full facelift, including installing new trim, molding, carpet and doors.

White says the new space allows the company to continue to grow. Click Here Publishing offers consulting services to businesses for how they should spend their money in digital advertising.

While he admits that 6,500 square feet may be a little more than the company needs, White says he has not decided if he will lease out a small portion of the building or just keep it all.

The company owns the space at 4528 Bennington. White says he is open to leasing or selling the suite.

Jessie Babcock and Branon Pesnell, both with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, brokered the deal.

Babcock says the Brookline building had been on the market for lease for several months before Click Here Publishing purchased it.    https://www.businessreport.com/article/baton-rouge-based-digital-consulting-firm-purchases-new-office-continue-growth

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greg225    187

Baton Rouge Fire Department retains Class 1 rating Stills tops: The Baton Rouge Fire Department has retained its Class 1 rating from the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana. The department, one of four fire departments in Louisiana and 130 across the country to receive a Class 1 rating, is evaluated every five years on a plethora of factors, including training, communications, manpower, response times and continuing education. “The top Class 1 rating is something that is easy to take for granted, until the unthinkable happens and you need BRFD to respond to an emergency,” Mayor Kip Holden says in a statement. “We should all consider ourselves fortunate to live in a city with one of the top fire departments in the United States.” The first fire department in the country to receive the Class 1 rating, the Baton Rouge Fire Department has received a Class 1 rating for the past 35 years. Holden notes that Baton Rouge is the only city in Louisiana to receive a Class 1 rating in police, fire, emergency medical services and emergency preparedness.    https://www.businessreport.com/article/news-roundup-cats-scores-improve-rider-survey-lsu-chemical-engineering-professor-named-national-academy-inventors-fellow-baton-rouge-fire-department-retains-class-1-rating

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greg225    187

A new kind of corporate philanthropy is taking shape in the Capital Region    

This fall, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation concluded a three-year grant called Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana, in which the foundation granted $10.2 million to 12 statewide projects that addressed one of Louisiana’s most pervasive and expensive problems, childhood obesity.

In the Capital Region, those projects included the Mayor’s Healthy Cities initiative and BREC’s Capital Parkways Project. The BCBSLA Foundation’s approach is significant on several levels, and it portends just how much the landscape of corporate philanthropy is changing in the greater Baton Rouge area.

The project required grantees to create proposals that included numerous community partners who could work together to tackle obesity, a complex problem with no easy solution. In addition, grantees had to secure matching funds, ultimately raising an additional $16.8 million and bringing the total statewide impact of the grant to $27 million.

Moreover, the project was conducted with help from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which served as an adviser to the BCBSLA Foundation in both design and evaluation. The results of Pennington’s evaluations, currently underway, could help shape future grantmaking by the foundation, and could also spark research opportunities among the center’s scientists as they grapple for workable methods to curb obesity.

As Business Report details in its new cover story, “A Mission in Mind,” it’s a far different approach than the days of detached corporate giving. More than ever, say corporate philanthropy managers and nonprofit executives, companies are more strategic about the causes they support, opting for a smaller number of causes with which they can make a tangible impact rather than the traditional scattershot approach.

In addition, the internal structure of corporate giving has changed as well, both nationally and in Baton Rouge. More companies, including about half of the country’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates and numerous other large corporations, have established their own foundations. Those foundations are not just interested in writing checks. In many cases they want to lend their expertise and help find solutions to nagging social issues.

Similarly, a growing number of smaller companies are established funds at community foundations, turning over the tedious administrative functions and gaining insight to strategic giving. One of the biggest areas of growth for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has been its Corporate Advised Funds, including those established by Cox Communications, Community Coffee, Lamar Advertising and others.

“We can help manage the back end of the process, and that tends to be an attractive approach for many companies,” says BRAF President and CEO John Davies. “At the end of the day, they have a clear idea whom they want to give to and they still make those decisions.” Read the full cover story  https://www.businessreport.com/article/new-kind-corporate-philanthropy-taking-shape-capital-region

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greg225    187

Premier Health of Baton Rouge: The fastest-growing local company you’ve probably never heard of

 
 
Steve-Sellers1-DK.jpg?q=70&fit=clip&w=80

(Photography by Don Kadair: Premier Health CEO Steve Sellars)

During the late 1990s, Dr. Kevin DiBenedetto and Dr. Graham Tujague were emergency room physicians at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. They began to wonder what could be done to relieve overcrowding in the ER, and how patients who weren’t critically ill could be served more efficiently.

They realized there was a need for a clinic that specialized in those illnesses and injuries—broken bones, sprains, fevers, cuts needing stitches and so on—that may not be serious enough for the emergency room but are too serious to wait for that next trip to the family doctor. That led them to investigate “urgent care” medicine, which DiBenedetto says was a relatively new concept at the time.

“We really didn’t have any research to go on,” he says. “The whole model, we kind of developed it as we went along.”

But thanks to a partnership with OLOL, they didn’t have to go it alone. Their first venture, a Lake After Hours urgent care clinic that opened in 1999 at Perkins Road and Siegen Lane, led them to found a much larger company called Premier Health with almost 40 clinics and about 650 employees. Those clinics are named after their partners, so Premier Health might be the fastest-growing local company that you’ve never heard of.

Urgent care began growing rapidly during the mid-1990s, according to the Academy of Urgent Care Medicine. Demand was fueled by frustration over long waits in the emergency room—often for nonemergency care—and a shortage in available primary care appointments that often forced patients to wait weeks before seeing their family doctor.

The federal Affordable Care Act extended insurance coverage to more people who don’t have a regular primary care doctor, further stoking demand for urgent care. Since 2008, the number of facilities has increased from 8,000 to at least 9,300, the AUCM says.

Cost is a big factor in the sector’s growth. The average cost of an ER visit is about seven times greater than what it would cost to treat that same condition in a doctor’s office or clinic, according to the Center for Improving Value in Health Care. Insurance companies, once wary of urgent care, now encourage their members to utilize it and in some cases have acquired their own urgent care clinic networks.

A 50/50 PARTNERSHIP

When the co-founders launched Lake After Hours with OLOL, both sides were new to the urgent care clinic business. OLOL officials already knew and trusted DiBenedetto and Tujague, and the doctors benefited from the hospital’s name recognition and financial support.

That first successful Lake After Hours clinic grew into 16 clinics across the Baton Rouge region and in Covington, says Our Lady of the Lake CEO Scott Wester. Ownership is split 50/50 between OLOL and Premier, and a board with two people from each side and one businessperson from the community governs the clinics. DiBenedetto says the outsider was brought on in case someone needs to break a tie, although that hasn’t been necessary since the board’s decisions tend to be unanimous.

Some hospitals try and fail to run their own urgent care clinics, Wester says. Some urgent care networks are run by equity firms that may or may not have deep health care expertise. Premier prides itself on being “doctor-driven,” and the co-founding medical directors still work “in the trenches” at the clinics, although DiBenedetto says he’ll probably need to spend more time in the office as the company grows.

“If we didn’t have the Premier team to focus on the urgent care,” Wester says, “we would not have done justice to these clinics, because we probably would have diluted management’s time and understanding.”

DiBenedetto and Tujague called their first company Convenient Care. As Lake After Hours took off, other hospitals began coming to the doctors seeking partnerships. Not surprisingly, the first to inquire were other members of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, such as Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales. They also have partnered with groups of doctors on clinics in LaPlace and Lake Charles, and they help run, but do not have an ownership stake in, LSU Health Baton Rouge.

Premier was developed for those joint ventures beyond Lake After Hours. As the company grew, it needed more capital. Rather than get in bed with a venture capital firm, company leaders accepted investment from folks they already knew: OLOL and FMOL.

“They felt like they needed to put their money somewhere, so they might as well put it in something they know something about,” DiBenedetto says. “We felt the same way. We felt better about partnering up with them than with most of the venture capitalist companies.”

While Premier Health also offers consulting and an “Urgent Care University” for health care professionals, its joint ventures are the primary focus. In early November, Premier opened its 38th clinic, part of its partnership with Indiana University Health, its biggest venture so far outside the state.

Premier was on pace to open No. 39 in St. Amant in December and another clinic with IU Health in January, and a project in Puerto Rico is in the works. The company did about $55 million in revenue in 2014, says CEO Steve Sellars.

“These health systems recognize that this is a very important component,” he says. “A lot of them will describe the urgent care model as a front door to the health system.”

Within the next three to five years, Sellars expects the company to have 60 to 65 urgent care centers with more than 900 employees handling more than 650,000 patient visits per year. While Premier may not seem very big in a sector with perhaps 10,000 clinics and growing, Sellars says the industry is very fragmented.

“We’re definitely the largest urgent care operator in the state of Louisiana,” he says. “I would say we’re in the top 20 in the country in terms of our size.”

DiBenedetto says people questioned why he and Tujague partnered with a hospital when they first got started. Now, hospitals are coming to Premier looking for partners.

“Everybody’s like, ‘You guys were really smart to partner up,’” he says, with a bit of a laugh. “We didn’t know we were smart.”    https://www.businessreport.com/business/premier-health-baton-rouge

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greg225    187

New restaurant, oyster bar planned as part of Marriott renovation          

As part of a $23 million renovation that begins this month, the Baton Rouge Marriott is planning to overhaul its restaurant and bar area. Hotel manager Ralph Ney says details are still being finalized, but plans call for partnering with a third-party operator or outside chef to develop a destination restaurant with an oyster bar and upscale wine list.

“It’s going to be an extensive renovation,” he says. “We’ll also be creating a new entrance for the restaurant.”

Dimensions Development, a Natchitoches-based hotel management company, and a New York investor acquired the high-rise Marriott hotel off Interstate-10 near College Drive in late April for $21.8 million and immediately announced plans for the renovation.

At the time, the new owners said the hotel might have to close while work is being done, but Ney now says the 21-story hotel will remain open and that construction will take place on two floors at a time, with a third floor as a buffer.

The project is expected to be completed by September.

See a rendering of the new guest room.          https://www.businessreport.com/article/new-restaurant-oyster-bar-planned-part-marriott-renovation                     

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cajun    534
26 minutes ago, greg225 said:

New restaurant, oyster bar planned as part of Marriott renovation          

As part of a $23 million renovation that begins this month, the Baton Rouge Marriott is planning to overhaul its restaurant and bar area. Hotel manager Ralph Ney says details are still being finalized, but plans call for partnering with a third-party operator or outside chef to develop a destination restaurant with an oyster bar and upscale wine list.

“It’s going to be an extensive renovation,” he says. “We’ll also be creating a new entrance for the restaurant.”

Dimensions Development, a Natchitoches-based hotel management company, and a New York investor acquired the high-rise Marriott hotel off Interstate-10 near College Drive in late April for $21.8 million and immediately announced plans for the renovation.

At the time, the new owners said the hotel might have to close while work is being done, but Ney now says the 21-story hotel will remain open and that construction will take place on two floors at a time, with a third floor as a buffer.

The project is expected to be completed by September.

See a rendering of the new guest room.          https://www.businessreport.com/article/new-restaurant-oyster-bar-planned-part-marriott-renovation                     

That's a big hotel, and it's been in need of some investment for a while.    Good to see it happen!

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greg225    187

Lamar reported to be close to $450 million deal for some Clear Channel billboards                                          

Baton Rouge-based Lamar Advertising Co. reportedly is working on a $450 million deal to buy a big chunk of Clear Channel Outdoor’s billboards.

 

“We don’t comment on stories like this,” Lamar Chief Financial Officer Keith Istre said in response to a report put out by the Reuters news agency.

Reuters said the acquisition includes properties in Seattle, Cleveland, Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis, Tennessee; and Reno, Nevada. Clear Channel is looking to cut some of its $20.6 billion in debt held by parent iHeart media.

Last year, Clear Channel hired investment bank Moelis & Co. to help move billboard assets worth about $800 million.

Clear Channel Outdoor also plans to sell up to $400 million of billboard assets in other markets to other buyers, such as privately held billboard companies Total Outdoor and Reagan Outdoor, said a source cited by Reuters. The assets would be sold one by one and not to one buyer, the source added.

Lamar is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies, with more than 318,000 signs in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The company is a Real Estate Investment Trust and doesn’t pay corporate income taxes on profits if at least 90 percent of profits go to shareholders. The trusts also use different performance measures, and one is adjusted funds from operations, which indicates a trust’s ability to pay dividends.

Lamar generated $997.4 million in revenue for the first nine months of the year and its AFFO jumped to $319.5 million, compared with $271.2 million for the same period in 2014.

Over the same time period, Clear Channel had revenue of $2.03 billion, $984.5 million of that in the Americas, and reported a loss of $54.7 million.      http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/neworleansnews/14494505-123/lamar-reported-to-be-close-to-450-million-deal-for-some-clear-channel-billboards

    

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greg225    187

Physician’s office set to anchor new Sherwood Forest retail center, second doctor’s office could join    

A new 9,000-square-foot retail center planned for a vacant tract at the corner of South Sherwood Forest Boulevard and Lake Sherwood Avenue South will feature at least one physician’s office, and possibly a second.

D&H Investment Properties LLC, represented by B. Clark Heebe, bought the property adjacent to South of Philly Cheesesteaks for $515,000 from Charles and Ann Valluzzo, and John and Janette Valluzzo, according to sale documents filed with the city-parish Clerk of Court’s Office.

Heebe says he and Harry Baker Smith Architects of Metairie are still designing the center in the 4800 block of Sherwood Forest, but they already have one signed lease for a physician’s office that will occupy 3,000 square feet on the corner of the planned building. Heebe declined to identify who signed the lease.

Heebe says discussions are also ongoing with a second party that is interested in establishing a second doctor’s office in the building. A physician’s group has conducted a study and found a need for additional doctor’s offices along the stretch of Sherwood, Heebe says.

The design plans are expected to be sent to the city-parish for approval within the next 30 to 45 days, Heebe says. If all goes well, construction should begin in the next 60 to 90 days. A name for the proposed retail center has not been chosen, but Heebe says it will be branded.      https://www.businessreport.com/article/physicians-office-set-anchor-new-sherwood-forest-retail-center-second-doctors-office-join

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greg225    187

Top Commercial Real Estate Deals of 2015             

The-Standard-Don.jpg?q=70&fit=clip&w=808

(Photography by Don Kadair: The Standard)

For the commercial real estate market in Baton Rouge, 2015 was another boom year—the third in a row. Sale prices in the local market broke all-time records, and out-of-state investors flocked to opportunities in the Capital Region, particularly in the multifamily sector.

A couple of factors drove the activity. One was the availability of cheap capital. With interest rates so low, investors are looking for places to spend money and they like what they see in Baton Rouge.

“The cost of money is historically low, and that has opened up all sorts of opportunities,” says Wesley Moore, an appraiser with Cook Moore and Associates. “We had some major deals this year that almost nudged us out of being what investors consider a tertiary market and into a secondary market.”

Also driving activity was demand for more student housing near LSU. Rental rates, priced by the bed and not the unit, continued to increase, as did occupancy. As a result, out-of-state companies that specialize in student housing continue to see the area near the south campus gates as something of a gold mine.

“On the apartment side there is a lot of outside investment,” says Ty Gose, a realtor with NAI/Latter and Blum. “They’re looking to our market for higher returns, higher use and in some cases they’re getting sticker shock.”

It’s not scaring them away, though, and for now the growth is expected to continue. Says Moore: “The market is so healthy it’s almost scary.”

No. 1

In one of the largest sales of Baton Rouge commercial property in history, a Dallas-based firm purchased The Standard apartment complex at 740 W. State St. for $108.6 million. The firm—University House Communities, which specializes in developing, acquiring and managing student housing communities across the country—purchased the 287-unit complex from Athens, Georgia-based Landmark Properties. At nearly $378,386 per unit, the deal set a new high for the local market. The complex measures more than 750,000 square feet in total, including a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse and amenities such as a game room, rooftop pool, golf simulator, computer center and study rooms.

 

Hammond AireNo. 2

In late December, a New York investment firm, DRA Advisors, acquired the Hammond-Aire Plaza at the corner of Airline and Old Hammond highways and Prien Lake Plaza in Lake Charles from Kimco Realty for $59.9 million. Though sale documents do not unbundle the two properties, the size of the deal was sufficiently large enough to warrant inclusion on the list. Hammond Aire Plaza sits on 18.5 acres and features several clothing and apparel retailers, including Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls and Stein Mart. The acquisition added to DRA Advisors’ $6 billion portfolio of retail properties in 17 states.

 

University Edge.vu

No. 3

In another high-dollar deal, the Ohio developer of University Edge apartments—Hallmark Student Housing—sold the complex at 650 W. McKinley St. for $32.5 million to Scion BR Apartments, which owns and operates some 16,250 beds of university housing near 24 college campuses across the country. At $221,088 per unit, or $68,756 per bed, the February sale marked the highest price-per-unit paid for a student housing community in Louisiana—until The Standard sale eight months later.

 

Oakleigh ApartmentsNo. 4

The 312-unit Oakleigh Apartments changed hands in mid-August, when Oakleigh Apartments LLC, represented by Patrick J. Coffey of Mobile, Alabama, sold the 11.7-acre property for $22.8 million to Los Angeles-based Mount Auburn Capital Group, which owns and manages 14 communities with almost 5,000 units across six states. The 30-year-old complex was 97% occupied at the time of the sale, which amounted to $73,237 per unit or $83.38 per square foot.

 

MarriottNo. 5

A partnership between a Natchitoches-based hotel management company, Dimensions Development, and a New York investor acquired the high-rise Marriott hotel off Interstate-10 near College Drive in late April for $21.8 million. The group bought the iconic hotel from CCMS Lodging, a real estate trust that had owned it since 2013. Dimensions immediately set about planning for an extensive renovation of the 300-room hotel, which was built in the early 1970s. The acquisition was the latest of several for Dimensions, which also owns the Springhill Suites at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport, and Le Pavillon and the Intercontinental in downtown New Orleans.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo. 6

Some five months after announcing plans to open an executive office in Nashville for its top brass, Amedisys sold its Sherwood Forest Boulevard headquarters building to the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System for $20 million. Amedysis purchased the 110,000-square-foot site for $4.2 million in 2005. The company spent several years and several million dollars renovating the facility, which had been a Schwegmann’s grocery store, adding skylights and atriums to convert the building into an administrative space. OLOL officials plan to use the building to house some of the support services currently located at the hospital’s Essen Lane campus.

 

Pain Clinic.9118 BluebonnetNo. 7

The Pain Clinic at 9118 Bluebonnet Centre Blvd. changed hands in mid-April, when Dr. Alexander Ingerman sold the 26,000-square-foot, two-story building for $10.48 million to Physicians Realty LP. The building was constructed in 2003, with a second floor added in 2007, and sits on a 1.7-acre tract with 86 parking spaces and signage. The first floor space is an ambulatory surgical center, and the second floor is standard medical clinic space. At the time of the sale, the ambulatory surgery center was leased to a joint venture including physicians, whose offices are in the building, and Tenet Healthcare.

 

Hampton InnNo. 8

The Hampton Inn and Suites at 11271 Reiger Road changed hands for $9.65 million, when Baton Rouge HPA, a limited liability company owned by Texas-based investor William G. Copeland, acquired the property from South Baton Rouge Hotel LLC, which is owned by G. Murphy Anderson II of Shreveport and Frank Benoit of Baton Rouge. Anderson and Benoit developed the three-story hotel in 2007. It opened in January 2008 and has 101 guest rooms. Copeland financed the acquisition with a $6.7 million loan from Whitney National Bank.

 

Bluebonnet-Centre.cvb_-300x225.jpgNo. 9

A group of local investors acquired the towering glass Bluebonnet Office Tower at 9100 Bluebonnet Center Blvd. in early October for $9.55 million. The investors, through an LLC, purchased the 70,500-square-foot property from a group of Mississippi and Alabama investors, who had owned it since 2001. The building was 100% occupied at the time of the sale.

 

 

Park 7No. 10

As further evidence of the interest in high-end student housing near LSU, a New York development firm paid more than $9.3 million in May for 2.6 acres of land on which the Park 7 Apartments will be built. The land was purchased in four separate transactions by Park 7 Group of New York, which has developed and manages a 16,000-bed portfolio of student housing around the country. Plans for the complex, currently under construction, call for 280 units on a 2.6-acre tract bordered by West Parker Boulevard, East Boyd Drive, Swire Avenue and Dodson Avenue.      https://www.businessreport.com/realestate/commercial-dealstop-commercial-real-estate-deals-2015                                                                                   Baton Rouge’s 10 Most Expensive Home Sales of 2015      

0019-2.jpg?q=70&fit=clip&w=808

(Photography by Don Kadair)

11001 Highland rd

No. 1

The region’s biggest seller is a gated Mediterranean estate on 12.5 acres of natural landscaping comprising a Spanish villa-style main house, as well as a separate guest house and outdoor Cabana area. Other features include a saltwater pool with fully equipped outdoor kitchen, gym, guest suite, wine cellar, and a home theater. It was originally listed at $18 million, but the price dropped after it spent more than two years on the market.

Selling price: $6 million
List price: $12 million
Address: 11001 Highland Road
Subdivision: Rural Tract
Living space: 36,689 square feet
Bedrooms: 9
Bathrooms: 9 full, 3 half
Year built: 2006
Seller: Jacques de la Bretonne and Paula Pennington de la Bretonne
Buyer: Drs. André Bruni and Jessica Bruni
Listing agent: Shannon Smith, Blackstone Smith Properties
Selling agent: Jo Landreneau, C. J. Brown Perkins
Closing date: June 19

 

18433 N Mission Hills

No. 2

This West Indies-style home designed by Al Jones and built by Larry Normand on two cul-de-sac lots reportedly was chosen specifically by Jack Nicklaus. It overlooks the wildlife preserve, golf course and country club.

Selling price: $2.5 million
List price: $2.95 million
Address: 18433 N. Mission Hills Ave.
Subdivision: Country Club of Louisiana
Living space: 6,825 square feet
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3 full, 2 half
Year built: 16-20 years old
Seller: Clark Boyce Jr.
Buyer: Camile Joseph Landry
Listing agent: Quita Cutrer, Burns & Co. Inc.
Selling agent: Quita Cutrer, Burns & Co. Inc.
Closing date: Dec. 17

 

19119 South Augusta Dr

No. 3

Builder Ronald Babb constructed this residence as his personal home, and he spared no detail. The Country Club of Louisiana property is a rare find: It is only 6 years old, making it one of the newer high-end properties, and it sold for its full asking price.

Selling price: $ 2.2 million
List price: $ 2.2 million
Address: 19119 S. Augusta Drive
Subdivision: Country Club of Louisiana
Living space: 6,641 square feet
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3 full, 2 half
Year built: 2009
Seller: Ronald Babb and Stephanie Savoie Babb
Buyer: Scott Thompson and Linda Hawkins Thompson
Listing agent: Quita Cutrer, Burns & Co. Inc.
Selling agent: Quita Cutrer, Burns & Co. Inc.
Closing date:      Aug. 7

 

21828 Turkey Creek Dr

No. 4

Set on 9 acres with a private lake, this builder’s home includes a three-stall, 4,400-square-foot barn with air conditioning and RV and boat storage, and even an indoor basketball court. There are extensive architectural details, a movie theater, game room, playroom, two outdoor kitchens, a pool house, saltwater pool with cascading waterfalls and a hot tub.

Selling price: $2.1 million
List price: $2.55 million
Address: 21828 Turkey Creek Drive
Subdivision: Mallard Lakes
Living space: 13,445 square feet
Bedrooms: 9
Bathrooms: 7 full, 4 half
Year built: 2009
Seller: Nathian Hossley and Sarah Senegal Hossley
Buyer: Shane Tubre and RaeJean Love Tubre
Listing agent: Dana Patureau, Chateau To Geaux Real Estate Group
Selling agent: Dana Patureau, Chateau To Geaux Real Estate Group
Closing date: May 20

 

19240 S Lakeway

No. 5

The sellers gutted the house to the sheetrock, and a total renovation was completed by Todd Norman and Ann McCanless. Available properties on the water in the Country Club of Louisiana are rare, and this one has a spectacular lake view.

Selling price: $1.675 million
List price: $ 1.795 million
Address: 19240 S. Lakeway Ave.
Subdivision: Country Club of Louisiana
Living space: 5,121 square feet
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4
Year built: 2001
Seller: Rodney Landreneau and Sandra Zoeller Landreneau
Buyer: Kelly Boudreaux Jr. and Allyson Hingle Boudreaux
Listing agent: Quita Cutrer, Burns & Co. Inc.
Selling agent: Brenda Stelly, Jim Talbot Real Estate
Closing date: May 27

 

6925 Woodstock Dr

No. 6

A tech-lover’s dream, the property can be controlled entirely by an iPhone and features remote entry with security cameras and a 75 kw generator. The Tuscan-style home is one of the newer in Bocage with a pool and spa, fire pit, waterfall, full outdoor kitchen and air-conditioned sitting area.

Selling price: $ 1.625 million
List price:
$1.825 million
Address: 6925 Woodstock Drive
Subdivision: Bocage Lake
Living space: 5,712 square feet
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 4 full, 1 half
Year built: 2010
Seller: Henry Watson Jr.and Penny Watson
Buyer: Kyle Orton and Bridget Orton
Listing agent: Lisa Landers, RE/MAX Professional
Selling agent: Lisa Landers, RE/MAX Professional
Closing date: June 23

 

18045 West Agusta Dr

No. 7

Alvarez Construction built this 9-year-old French-style beauty in the Country Club of Louisiana. This home includes a library, exercise studio, game room, three fireplaces, a sauna/steamroom, gunite pool with extensive landscaping, an outdoor fireplace and kitchen and a whole-house generator.

Selling price: $1.6 million
List price:
$2.2 million
Address: 18045 W. Augusta Drive
Subdivision: Country Club of Louisiana
Living space: 7,151 square feet
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 6 full, 1 half
Year built: 2007
Seller: Luke Vincent Scorsone and Harriet Sue Tisser Scorsone
Buyer: Robert Be and Candy Be
Listing agent: Libby Peak, Burns & Co. Inc.
Selling agent: Kelly L. Nyboer, Burns & Co. Inc.
Closing date: Aug. 7

 

223 Shadows Bend

No. 8

Builder Ronald Legendre’s personal home has all the extras. There is a media room with a 102-inch projection screen as well as a prayer chapel. The gourmet kitchen includes a 6-foot built-in refrigerator/freezer, six-burner gas range with griddle and wine cooler.

Selling price: $1.525 million
List price: $ 1.595 million
Address: 223 Shadows Bend Drive
Subdivision: Highland Shadows
Living space: 5,108 square feet
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 5 full, 1 half
Year built: 2011
Seller: Ronald Legendre and Danette Legendre
Buyer: Buddy Trahan and Jill Trahan
Listing agent: Susan Roshto Miller, Jerry del Rio Real Estate Inc.
Selling agent: Cheryl Leatherwood, RE/MAX First
Closing date: April 22

 

7022 Richards

No. 9

A. Hays Town designed this 53-year old traditional home, but it has undergone many upgrades and renovations while still keeping the original ambiance. The old beams, hard tan brick floors and large pane windows remain.

Selling price: $1.475 million
List price: $1.595 million
Address: 7022 Richards Drive
Subdivision: Jefferson Place
Living space: 7,136 square feet
Bedrooms: 6
Bathrooms: 7 full, 1 half
Year built: 1962
Seller: Walter Monsour Jr. and Mary Ann Wampold Monsour
Buyer: Kenneth Phillip Kleinpeter Jr. and Laurie M. Whitaker
Listing agent: Quita Cutrer, Burns & Co. Inc.
Selling agent: Heather Kleinpeter-Savoy, Keller Williams Realty Red Stick Partners
Closing date: Sept. 3

 

22300 Ligon Rd

No. 10

Sitting on 59 landscaped acres with mature live oaks and flowering plants, three ponds and a hay barn, this Zachary home is a modern version of a 19th century farmhouse. It was patterned after Wilderness Plantation, the ancestral home of the owner. There is a guest cottage with fireplace that overlooks a gunite pool and courtyard with wrought iron fencing, a custom playhouse and an extra-large garage with workshop and room for two motor homes.

Selling price: $1.35 million
List price: $1.45 million
Address: 22300 Ligon Road
Subdivision: Rural tract
Living space: 5,285 square feet
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4
Year built: 1981
Seller: Dorothy Watts Mills
Buyer: Robert David Rabalais and Erika Baier Rabalais
Listing agent: Suzi Gautreaux, Keller Williams Realty Red Stick Plus
Selling agent: Gina Boring-Henry, Keller Williams Realty Red Stick Partners
Closing date: Jan. 23      https://www.businessreport.com/realestate/baton-rouges-10-most-expensive-home-sales-of-2015

 

Edited by greg225

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dan326    303

Bank, retail development planned for land south of Highland Road at Bluebonnet Boulevard intersection

 
  

Developer Kevin Nguyen finalized a deal Tuesday to buy 4 acres on the east side of Bluebonnet Boulevard, south of Highland Road, for $1.81 million for a planned retail office development that will include a bank.

The land, situated between south of Highland between Bayou Fountain and Burbank Drive, sits next to two other tracts owned by Nguyen on the southeast and southwest corners of Bluebonnet at Highland.

Plans include putting a bank at the corner of Bluebonnet and Highland amid at least 15,000 square feet of retail space. Nguyen says it will be an upscale development similar to the Siegen Place Shopping Center on Siegen Lane where the Mattress Firm is located, but will have a Mediterranean flair with stucco towers and clay tile roofs.

Nguyen says he hopes to begin construction in the next few months and have everything completed by the end of the year.

 

From the Business Report

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richyb83    960

See this thread...NO problems!  Easily able to post pics & no Dan326 Box pop's up...when i get time maybe Neo can help undo the mess in BR Photo thread

BR's Tallest Hotel Marriott in background about 3 miles away...(CBI Bldg/old Shaw Plaza to Left; United Plaza/far left;)...OLOL to the right; can't make out Jacobs Plaza..slight haze

DSCN1301_zpsdtr6mvnz.jpg

The Elysian Apts.....& 14-story Mid City Tower in background

DSCN1302_zpsqeo1glzj.jpg

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greg225    187

Baton Rouge builders see innovations in exhaust fans, keyless entry systems at national builders’ show               

Wireless speakers built into bathroom exhaust fans, expanded keyless entry systems allowing children to use their smartphone for access and a new construction adhesive that can be applied to wet materials.

Those are just a few of the new products and trends home builders from the Baton Rouge area learned about last week during the annual National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders Show in Las Vegas. The show, held in the Las Vegas Convention Center, brought together 110,000 attendees, including at least 10 from Baton Rouge, to view products and demonstrations by about 460 exhibitors.

Carol Smith, president of the Capital Region Home Builders Association and co-owner of Harvey Smith Construction with her brother, says her biggest takeaway from the show is the trend toward moving the exhaust fan blower in the kitchen from the hood over the stove to the attic or roof, which cuts down on noise. That will be particularly helpful in outdoor kitchens that are becoming staples of new homes, Smith says.

“In all of our homes, we are installing outdoor kitchens—you can’t hardly sell a home right now without outdoor kitchens,” Smith says. “With outdoor kitchens, we normally put a TV, and you can’t hear anything” with a loud exhaust fan.

The new construction adhesive is also a product that piqued Smith’s interest because of the applications in south Louisiana, where the threat of rain is something builders are constantly monitoring and fighting.

“Water application here is huge,” Smith says.

Other trends are the continued move toward LED lighting, heated toilet seats, new hinge doorstops that apply the pressure of stopping the door on the hinges themselves instead of the doorframe, and the move toward wireless technology in a number of relevant applications.

“Everything is going wireless, so during our construction, we are not having to put in the wires we used to in each room,” Smith says.

As for the educational offerings at the show, Baton Rouge developer Craig Toups says economists told the developers that they do not expect the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgages to rise past 5.5% this year. They also said millennials want to become homeowners like all the past generations, but they will likely do so later in life than other generations because of student loan debt.

“Some people had speculated that they’re not an ownership generation, but studies have shown that they are,” Toups says of millennials.     https://www.businessreport.com/article/baton-rouge-builders-see-innovations-exhaust-fans-keyless-entry-systems-national-builders-show

Five new video games are set to emerge this year from studios at the Louisiana Technology Park   

Michael-Taranto2-DK.jpg?q=70&fit=clip&w=

(Photography by Don Kadair: Brothers Matthew and Michael Taranto are set to release Tadpole Treble for Nintendo’s Wii U)

Baton Rouge natives Michael Taranto and his younger brother Matthew Taranto acquired their experience for developing video games by playing video games—lots and lots of video games.

Combining years of yelling at the screen in frustration with the knowledge of what makes an exceptional game and a shared love of music, the brothers jumped headfirst into developing a game two years ago while still maintaining their day jobs. At some point in the next two months, their work will culminate in the release of their first game: Tadpole Treble for Nintendo’s Wii U.

When the game hits store shelves, it will mark the first of five games scheduled for release during the first half of 2016 by a group of developers in the Louisiana Technology Park. Four developers work in the tech park’s Level Up Lab, which focuses on fledgling digital media and high-tech firms, while the fifth plies his trade in the tech park’s incubator.

Tadpole Treble is a side-scrolling game that weaves together components of musical adventure with the classic “gotta get home” storyline to tell the tale of Baton, a young tadpole lost in treacherous waterways. The player must navigate Baton back home through rivers and streams using musical notes to create songs, some with lyrics, to complete each level.

“We really wanted the players to have fun with it,” Michael Taranto says.

Godric Johnson, a Scotlandville High School graduate and head of Jetstreame Studios, is another developer at the tech park with a project that’s about 50% complete.

“I feel we’re pioneering the new digital age of game development right here,” says Johnson, who, with designer Derek Scott, is developing Cyberpunk Casanova, a tasteful dating simulator set in a Blade Runner-like dystopian future in which every in-play decision affects the game’s outcome. The game could be ready for release on PC and mobile gaming platforms around March.

“The independent scene, game development scene is huge, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” Johnson says.

And with game developer EA Sports housed on the LSU campus and tech giant IBM settling in downtown Baton Rouge, the scene could very well grow in the next few years. Louisiana Technology Park Executive Director Stephen Loy says such companies are huge assets to the local game-development community because they expose people to new technologies and ideas.

“I think that helps lift up the whole technology region in Baton Rouge,” Loy says.

Other games in development at the tech park with tentative 2016 release dates are:

—Quest of Souls, a ’90s throwback game developed by Cody Louviere and King Crow Studios that will combine old-school pixel graphics with 360-degree camera angles to create an arcade-style shoot-’em-up game with role-playing and action elements. The game features three playable characters, including Louviere’s Pembroke Welsh Corgi as a dragon hunter, and could be released in May or June. “We went from a somewhat similar to a Lord of the Rings-style world to something that anything is possible,” Louviere says. “We’re not limiting it to fantasy. If aliens show up at some point, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

(Photo by Don Kadair) Cody Louviere (Photo by Don Kadair) Cody Louviere

—Limit Theory, an open-world procedural sci-fi game inspired by Star Wars in which algorithms create a realistic environment with elements of randomness where nothing is ever the same twice, allowing gamers to theoretically craft a story that never ends. Developer Josh Parnell says he hopes to beta test his game in six months and release the full version soon after. “When you can build a game and still be surprised by the experience it gives you, I think that is tremendous and that’s what I hope to get out of Limit Theory—what I know I’ll get out of Limit Theory,” says Parnell, a Baton Rouge native and Stanford graduate.

—Road Redemption, developed by Pixel Dash Studios, an ode to the iconic Road Rash games with updated physics and realistic graphics. Players race down long stretches of blacktop, rooftops and deserts on motorcycles while using whatever they can to knock their opponents from their motorcycles. Jason Tate, co-founder of Pixel Dash, says early versions of the game are out on Steam, a gaming platform on computers, and the full version is expected to be released around March on PC and Mac. “We thought there was a fan base out there for it,” Tate says.

GROWING UP GAMING

The Tarantos’ story of growing up playing video games and now wanting to develop them is a common theme among the group.

Tate says a love of video games led him to earn a degree in computer engineering from LSU in 2005 and begin a career in game development. Louviere grew up on role-playing classics like the early Final Fantasy games and Breath of Fire 3, games he says he hopes to emulate a little in Quest of Souls.

Parnell, developer of Limit Theory, was driven to create his game of unlimited scenarios because he was frustrated that he knew everything about the games’ storylines after conquering them the first time. Johnson, owner of Jetstreame Studios, is living a childhood dream of owning a game development company after playing all the classics like Mario and Sonic as a youth and earning a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in game design and digital art.

While the developers at the tech park may all be competing for the same dollars in the gaming market, there is a camaraderie among them because each developer knows the struggles the others are enduring and they all share the same passion. They also lend their respective talents to each other, working on several games besides their own in various capacities, and act as a sounding board for ideas and frustrations.

“My game is only [at the point it is] because I have every other video game company helping me create it right now,” Louviere says.

It’s a camaraderie that Loy, head of the Tech Park, says is natural, and not manufactured.

“I don’t know if its inherent in this industry or what it is,” he says. “The people in there, they just sort of gravitate toward each other to help.”    https://www.businessreport.com/business/louisiana-tech-park-video-games

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greg225    187

Atlanta developer with local ties buys Jefferson Place Condominiums      

Atlanta-based Songy-Highroads, which is owned by Louisiana-born developer David Songy, has acquired 136 units in Jefferson Place Condominiums at 7975 N. Jefferson Place Circle from local developers John Fetzer and Hardy Swyers. While documents filed today with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court record the sale price as $10, the full financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

In 2007, Fetzer and Swyers paid $26.5 million for the 234-unit development, which at the time was an apartment complex. They converted the high-end units to condominiums and renovated the complex, which was originally built in the mid-1980s.

But the condo market bottomed out in 2009, as many lenders stopped financing condo sales following the Great Recession, and selling the units became difficult.

“It had nothing to do with Baton Rouge or Jefferson Place,” Fetzer says of the sale. “Our condo properties were in great shape.”

During their years of ownership, Fetzer and Swyers sold a total of 98 units, which remain privately owned. They have continued to market the units for sale as condos while also leasing them as apartments. The two- and three-bedroom units range in size from around 1,200 to 1,700 square feet, and are 98% leased.

Fetzer says Songy plans to continue marketing the units for sale, while also operating the development as an apartment complex.

“It’s pretty much going to be business as usual,” Fetzer says. “It’s just a change of management.”

Songy could not be reached today for comment, but he is no stranger to the Baton Rouge real estate market. In 2013, his firm acquired a portfolio of six local office building and one in New Orleans for $52.7 million, most of which it still owns.      https://www.businessreport.com/article/atlanta-developer-local-ties-buys-jefferson-place-condominiums

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Clayton leading Research Park Corp. into new era with NexusLA rebrand

 
 

Reveling in the high tech, the complex and the innovative, Byron Clayton is no ordinary problem solver. As the president and CEO of the Research Park Corp., Clayton is using his past career experience integrating technology into new processes, managing cross-functional teams and working with different, sometimes adversarial organizations on joint efforts to help connect the dots for Louisiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As Business Report details in its new Executive Spotlight feature, Clayton has witnessed how regions across the country are building high-performing entrepreneurial ecosystems to better compete for jobs, investors and talent, and he says Louisiana must “follow suit or risk falling behind in the ever-intensifying competition to drive regional economic growth.”

In order to connect the state’s entrepreneurial resources, Clayton is leading an effort to rebrand the RPC as NexusLA—pronounced Nexus Louisiana. “Over time, NexusLA will become a nationally recognized model and resource for accelerating the success of entrepreneurial ecosystems in small to midsize regions,” Clayton says.

Clayton has found that one trait is essential to foster innovation: resilience. “Successful innovators learn from adversity, bounce back from failure and find ways to achieve their goals,” he says.

What does Clayton’s idea of success look like? A squiggly line he keeps posted on his bulletin board.

“The road to success is never a straight line,” he explains.

Completing his doctorate degree while running a company during the Great Recession is the biggest professional obstacle Clayton has overcome during his career. Perhaps one of the only things he has yet to conquer is golf.

“It’s the only sport that I consistently get worse at,” Clayton says.

For Clayton, time well spent includes meditating as a way to unwind, starting the day with a P90X3 workout or finding free time to learn about anything that can’t be explained or fully understood. Read the full Executive Spotlight Q&A with Clayton.     https://www.businessreport.com/article/clayton-leading-research-park-corp-new-era-nexusla-rebrand

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