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Baton Rouge Growth and Development

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greg225    187

Rocco’s owner branching out with Port Allen location and new Caribbean concept in Baton Rouge  

Rocco’s New Orleans Style Poboys and Café in the Drusilla Shopping Center may be best known for its authentic take on the classic Crescent City sandwich. But the restaurant’s owner is branching out into island fare with the recent opening of Caribbean Joe’s Café.

The new restaurant, which currently serves breakfast and lunch, is located at 2900 Westfork Ave., off Sherwood Forest Boulevard.

Owner Rocco Moreau, who is partnering in the venture with St. Croix native Jose Boriel, says he has long wanted to open a true Caribbean-style restaurant in Baton Rouge, and that the café is a way for him and Boriel to test the market.

“When we get everything to where we know what the public wants we will search for a real brick and mortar location and open a full-service island restaurant and bar,” says Moreau, who’s owned Rocco’s New Orleans Style Poboys and Café since 1998.

The menu at Caribbean Joe’s includes nearly a dozen of Rocco’s most popular poboys as well as a sampling of classic Caribbean dishes, such as Cubano sandwiches, jerk chicken and sautéed cabbage with sausage and jasmine rice. Boriel, who has worked with Moreau in an unrelated construction business, grew up in the Caribbean and is using many of his parents’ authentic recipes.

One month into the operation, Moreau says the Caribbean dishes have been well received by the Sherwood Forest’s lunch crowd.

“Everybody is trying everything,” he says. “We’re doing fantastic.”

Moreau is also planning to open a second Rocco’s po-boy location later this month in Port Allen. The restaurant will be called Rocco’s Westside. Moreau declines to divulge the location just yet.  https://www.businessreport.com/article/roccos-owner-branching-port-allen-location-new-caribbean-concept-baton-rouge

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greg225    187

Medical complex set for development on Bluebonnet following investor group’s win over Swaggart  

Members of the investor group that has been awarded the right to exercise a 10-year-old option agreement on 60 acres of undeveloped property on the campus of the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart’s Family Worship Center Church say they still plan to develop a medical complex on the site.

“We never lost the original concept,” says Terry Jones, who is a principal in the investor group, Health Science Park LLC. “The medical corridor is obviously growing so that remains a strong interest for us.”   

After a nearly two-week trial, a 19th Judicial District Court jury on Thursday awarded HSP the right to exercise the 2006 option agreement, which had been negotiated before Hurricane Katrina. The verdict clears the way for HSP to buy the property for the pre-Katrina, agreed-upon price of $6.7 million.

Testimony during the trial suggested the tract—which is on the east side of Bluebonnet Boulevard and includes about 44 acres of developable land—has an appraised value today of more than $20 million.

The verdict also gives HSP the right to exercise a long-term lease agreement on two buildings on the west side of Bluebonnet Boulevard, including the 160,000-square-foot Ketchum and 140,000-square-foot Trotter buildings.

HSP’s original plans for the property called for developing a complex around a replacement facility for LSU’s then-aging Earl K. Long charity hospital. Though LSU has since closed EKL and partnered with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center to provide indigent care, the Bluebonnet-Essen area has since become the focus of efforts to develop a medical corridor.

Terry Jones and his partner in HSP, Stephen Jones, who is not related, say there are still plenty of opportunities for health care-related developments on the property even without an LSU hospital—perhaps more than ever.

“There is an opportunity to create a real 21st century, business center and medical complex,” Stephen Jones says. “One of the things we’ve gotta do is an analysis of where the needs are and we want to dovetail those with the other activities going on in the area. What will meet the needs of the new Children’s Hospital? What will be the needs of the General? What will be the needs of Our Lady of the Lake?”

HSP will effectively be starting over as it begins to plan for the development. But the partners say their original team of investors remains on board and committed to moving forward.

They also say they intend to be very involved in the development, whatever shape it may ultimately take.

“We’re not going to flip this,” says Terry Jones. “We’re in it for the long haul. We want to build something that will be a real light for the region—that will help the region shine.”

It is unclear if FWCC plans to appeal and, if it does, whether the property will be tied up during the appellate process. FWCC’s attorney could not be reached this morning for comment.   https://www.businessreport.com/article/medical-complex-set-development-bluebonnet-following-investor-groups-win-swaggart

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greg225    187

Iverstine Family Farms opening full-service butcher shop on Perkins Road                                              

Iverstine Family Farms, a Kentwood-based family farm that’s been a staple of the Red Stick Farmer’s Market in downtown Baton Rouge since 2011, announced plans this morning to open a full-service butcher shop and smokehouse in a Perkins Road retail development that is expected to be completed during the summer.

Aldrich Rendering

Iverstine Farms Butcher will offer a variety of grass-fed beef, pasture raised Berkshire pork, chicken, holiday turkeys and lamb from its farm, as well as cured and smoked sausages, bacon and ham from its onsite smokehouse, the Iverstine family says in a news release.

“The butcher shop is going to allow us to offer more options to existing patrons while giving us greater access to customers who were unable to catch us at the farmer’s market on Saturdays,” owner Galen Iverstine says in a statement. “Interacting with our customers is a very important part of what we do; we now will have a space where customers can come find out exactly how we raise our animals, get suggestions for the perfect cut of meat for their dinner, and have it cut to their exact specifications.”

Iverstine says the family has the permits and the project should break ground soon. If all goes according to schedule, the butcher shop should open around early to mid-July.

Iverstine Farms Butcher will occupy a 1,656-square-foot space in a 3,766-square-foot infill development dubbed Aldrich Market, led by local developers Chad Ortte, Robert Svendson and Chris Landry.

“We purchased the land in May of 2014 and have been working on plans since,” Ortte says in a statement. “We are excited to be coming out of the ground at the same time as Rouzan and look forward to further investing in the area to help inspire another vibrant part of the city.”

Ortte says he is still looking for a business for the 2,000-square-foot space, and he wants someone that is going to complement the butcher shop, like a soft goods store. He is not looking for a restaurant or foodservice business.

The Charles Carter Construction Company is the contractor and will handle construction.   https://www.businessreport.com/article/iverstine-family-farms-opening-full-service-butcher-shop-perkins-road

Baton Rouge developer hopes to begin construction of The Oasis in April                                   

More than three years after the Planning Commission approved plans for The Oasis, Chris Shaheen’s long-planned recreational retail development on Burbank Drive, the developer has his sights set on the end of April to break ground on the project.

Shaheen, a real estate broker with Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate, filed for a construction permit about three weeks ago with the city-parish—a process that does not move as quickly as developers would like—and hopes to get a green light within the next 40 days.

“We’re ready to go,” says Shaheen, who has continually pushed back plans for a groundbreaking since first announcing the development in 2012.

Construction on the shell building should end in October, and the build-out for Sammy’s Southern Bistro—a new incarnation of the popular Sammy’s Grill restaurant that will have a live music stage, large theater screen for sporting events and a plethora of flatscreen TVs throughout the 5,000-square-foot establishment—should take a few months, Shaheen says. He is hoping for a Jan. 1 opening.

The original concept of The Oasis has morphed over the years as Shaheen has scaled back his plans. When the project was announced in 2012, Shaheen told Daily Report he envisioned a recreational area with batting cages, a virtual golf center, outdoor sand volleyball courts and a large patio and deck area surrounding a family-friendly bar and restaurant.

The development also was to include townhomes, which were scrapped more than a year after the Planning Commission OK’d the project’s zoning. At the time, Shaheen told Daily Report he eliminated the townhomes after receiving more interest from potential retailers. Also in 2013, Shaheen was in negotiations with an indoor soccer facility. The outcome of the negotiations is unknown.

Shaheen says the project has been delayed for a couple of reasons. He says he spent a year searching for an owner/operator for the restaurant before reaching an agreement with Sammy Nagem, owner of Sammy’s Grill, then waited another year for Nagem to buy out his business partner.

Shaheen says his relatives own the land surrounding his tract and further development could be done on those properties. Down the line, Shaheen says he would like to add virtual golf, bocce ball, horseshoes, and a yoga and Pilates studio.       https://www.businessreport.com/article/baton-rouge-developer-hopes-begin-construction-oasis-april

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greg225    187

News roundup: College Drive Walmart to undergo renovations … Tapestry Park still on pace for fall opening … Ribbon cutting for Sullivan Road expansion set for Thursday     

Facelift: The Walmart on College Drive is getting some renovations. A construction permit filed for the estimated $1.2 million project shows workers will renovate 40,000 square feet of the 192,733-square-foot retailer. A spokeswoman for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant says crews are scheduled to begin work on the 3132 College Drive store around mid-March and hope to finish during the summer. She had no other information at this time.

Keeping the pace: Arlington Properties is still projecting to open the Tapestry Park apartment complex behind Panera Bread on Jefferson Highway in late fall. The company has been working on the site since November and pulled a construction permit for the $13.9 million project Thursday. Arlington Properties Vice President Dave Ellis says crews are a few weeks behind schedule, mostly because of the rainy weather, but he thinks they could make up that time in the spring. Tapestry Park will be a 162,000-sqaure-foot, four-story apartment building at 7857 Jefferson Highway with 124 units.

Cutting the ribbon: City-parish officials on Thursday will cut the ribbon on the $25.8 million Sullivan Road expansion. Workers transformed Sullivan Road from a two-lane road to a four-lane road with a raised median between the Central Thruway and Wax Road in Central. Other improvements included intersection upgrades and additional turn lanes on Sullivan Road. The expansion means Sullivan Road can now act as a north/south thruway from Hooper Road to Nicholson Drive. The project is part of the Green Light Plan, the city-parish’s extensive transportation overhaul program. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church Central, 9676 Sullivan Road.   https://www.businessreport.com/article/news-roundup-college-drive-walmart-undergo-renovations-tapestry-park-still-pace-fall-opening-ribbon-cutting-sullivan-road-expansion-set-thursday

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richyb83    960

 Is that New Butcher Shop part of the new Rouzan or just nearby?? That area along Perkins Rd will be transformed  from a rural green pasture into a urban looking setting

Wonder what The Oasis will end up looking like down on Burbank??

4-story Tapestry Park will look nice at that excellent location in the small green tract behind Panera Bread off Jefferson Hwy...nice infil project..was hoping it would have started soon than the projected Fall time slot...

Rendering of Tapestry Park apartments for story tomorrow.

The fragmented city of Central will really start on grow with this completed stretch of Sullivan...despite over 27,000 people still feels like a town & rural in character with covering such a large geographical area

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greg225    187

Main Event Entertainment to open first Louisiana location at Siegen Lane Marketplace    

Main Event Entertainment, a Dallas-based company that operates entertainment centers across the country, is set to open its first Louisiana location in Baton Rouge.

Main Event has agreed to lease a 49,810-square-foot space at the Siegen Lane Marketplace near Interstate 10, according to Olshan Properties, a New York-based real estate firm that owns and manages Siegen Lane Marketplace.

The entertainment facility is expected to open sometime in 2017.

Founded in 1998, Main Event Entertainment runs 24 entertainment centers in the U.S. ranging in size from 48,000 to 75,000 square feet.

The Baton Rouge location, like Main Event’s other facilities, will include state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a multi-level laser tag arena, and a ropes course suspended over a games gallery featuring more than 100 interactive and virtual games, Olshan Properties says in a news release.

Food options will include an “extensive chef-inspired menu, specialty pizzas and a full bar serving innovative cocktails, wines and craft and local beers,” Olshan says.

The center also will offer catering in private rooms equipped with A/V equipment and free Wi-Fi for corporate meetings and special events.

“We have been looking to grow into Louisiana as part of our overall expansion plans for quite some time,” Main Event CEO Charlie Keegan says in a statement. “Now that we’ve found the right site, we’re ready to showcase our distinct ‘Eat.Bowl.Play.’ experience and become a part of the Baton Rouge community.”

Olshan Properties predicts the new facility will create more than 100 new jobs in management, sales, technical services, and food and beverage service.

“A giant entertainment chain like Main Event will be a great addition to Siegen Lane by providing the Baton Rouge community with a fun and interactive experience,” says Lynn Meredith, executive director of operations and marketing for Olshan Properties, in a prepared statement.  https://www.businessreport.com/article/main-event-entertainment-agrees-open-first-louisiana-location-siegen-lane-marketplace

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all2neat    121

We have those here in DFW. I haven't been to one but most people I know really like it. The other thing that would be awesome for BR is Top Golf.

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greg225    187

Baton Rouge, New Orleans region possible new location for popular high-tech driving range Topgolf

Last updated: 11:25 p.m., March 16, 2016

 

Topgolf, a popular Dallas-based golf hotspot that's a mix between a driving range and a nightclub, is eyeing the "New Orleans and Baton Rouge" area as a possible location to expand, accoding to a news release issued Wednesday.

The company also listed other regions under consideration: Huntsville, Ala.; northwest Arkansas; Providence, R.I.; Ft. Myers/Naples, Fla.; Greenville, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; McAllen and El Paso, Texas and more.

At Topgolf, which has 24 locations across the U.S., players hit golf balls containing computer microchips that track each shot’s accuracy and distance while awarding points for hitting targets on the outfield. Each venue offers an upscale and playful experience, featuring food, drinks, music, games, climate-controlled hitting bays, and hundreds of HDTVs.

There are also nine new Topgolf projects under construction throughout the U.S. Topgolf Vice President of Real Estate Development Zach Shor said in a news release that there are dozens of others locations under contract or in firm negotiations for 2017 and 2018 openings. In January, Topgolf Entertainment Group (TEG), the parent holding company of Topgolf, formed an international division to begin its expansion abroad. Topgolf also will remain focused on the top 50 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), with additional concentration on California expansion.

“ As we look to grow the Topgolf global community, we are excited to introduce our concept both online and in-venue in cities of all sizes,” said Co-Chairman and CEO of TEG Erik Anderson. “Our new investment partner Providence Equity equips us with additional resources to accelerate, broaden and deepen our expanding presence in the U.S and beyond.”

News of Topgolf's possible expansion into Louisiana comes about a week after another popular Texas company, Bucees, announced it planned to build its first location outside the state of Texas in Baton Rouge.

The convenience store will be located at the intersection of Interstate 12 and Millerville Road, said Charlie Colvin, of Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, which is handling leasing for the development.

 

http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/neworleansnews/15212935-75/report-popular-mega-sized-driving-range-topgolf-eyes-new-orleans-for-new-location

Edited by greg225

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cajun    534
57 minutes ago, greg225 said:

Baton Rouge, New Orleans region possible new location for popular high-tech driving range Topgolf

Last updated: 11:25 p.m., March 16, 2016

 

Topgolf, a popular Dallas-based golf hotspot that's a mix between a driving range and a nightclub, is eyeing the "New Orleans and Baton Rouge" area as a possible location to expand, accoding to a news release issued Wednesday.

The company also listed other regions under consideration: Huntsville, Ala.; northwest Arkansas; Providence, R.I.; Ft. Myers/Naples, Fla.; Greenville, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; McAllen and El Paso, Texas and more.

At Topgolf, which has 24 locations across the U.S., players hit golf balls containing computer microchips that track each shot’s accuracy and distance while awarding points for hitting targets on the outfield. Each venue offers an upscale and playful experience, featuring food, drinks, music, games, climate-controlled hitting bays, and hundreds of HDTVs.

There are also nine new Topgolf projects under construction throughout the U.S. Topgolf Vice President of Real Estate Development Zach Shor said in a news release that there are dozens of others locations under contract or in firm negotiations for 2017 and 2018 openings. In January, Topgolf Entertainment Group (TEG), the parent holding company of Topgolf, formed an international division to begin its expansion abroad. Topgolf also will remain focused on the top 50 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), with additional concentration on California expansion.

“ As we look to grow the Topgolf global community, we are excited to introduce our concept both online and in-venue in cities of all sizes,” said Co-Chairman and CEO of TEG Erik Anderson. “Our new investment partner Providence Equity equips us with additional resources to accelerate, broaden and deepen our expanding presence in the U.S and beyond.”

News of Topgolf's possible expansion into Louisiana comes about a week after another popular Texas company, Bucees, announced it planned to build its first location outside the state of Texas in Baton Rouge.

The convenience store will be located at the intersection of Interstate 12 and Millerville Road, said Charlie Colvin, of Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, which is handling leasing for the development.

 

http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/neworleansnews/15212935-75/report-popular-mega-sized-driving-range-topgolf-eyes-new-orleans-for-new-location

I can't stress how incredibly fun TopGolf is even if you aren't a great golfer, and how perfect of a fit they'd be for the Baton Rouge area.  Athletics (and Golf especially) is a really big deal in Baton Rouge....and the local climate means that people can enjoy the facility year round.   The area gets hundreds of thousands of visitors for athletic events and tournaments at LSU alone during football, baseball, and (gulp) basketball season not to mention the many regional shoppers drawn by the Mall of La, Cabela's, and Bass Pro.   The Baton Rouge area's location being within a fairly easy drive from the north shore, New Orleans, Alexandria, Natchez, McComb, and Lafayette areas also helps the retail and shopping in the capital area immensely. 

This is a vendor that would make a tremendous amount of money especially with a location near the Mall of La, Siegen, the Bass Pro area in Denham, or even in Corporate/Jefferson area.  Any serious retail developer in the Baton Rouge area had better be picking up the phone and giving these guys a call today.  

If you've never been to one, check out some of their youtube vidoes.  

 

Yeah, I'm a fan.  

 

Edited by cajun

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greg225    187

Lack of industrial space could mean Acadiana loses projects to Baton Rouge, study suggests   

According to Atlanta-based consulting firm Garner Economics, Acadiana isn’t prepared for new development because it lacks industry space and sites for offices and other commercial growth.

The Advertiser reports One Acadiana commissioned the firm to study the region’s economy as part of the organization’s focus on business development. The firm recently released its findings at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s student union during an event organized by One Acadiana.

According to Garner, Acadiana is “asset rich” with strong “access to markets, labor and resources, as well as significant quality of place.” The region’s weaknesses, according to the study, is in the “availability of industrial space, including sites and buildings, as well as office space and sites, which is why increasing the amount of development-ready sites in the region,” has been a major focus for One Acadiana since it launched in mid-February.

The concern for One Acadian, formerly called the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce,  is that a lack of development-ready sites could mean Acadiana will be passed up by major companies that look toward other areas of the state such as Baton Rouge and Lake Charles.

The study analyzed the region using variables that a company looking for a new location, expansion, consolidation or closure would use, the firm says.

Looking ahead, One Acadiana says it will “take the lead” in supporting five target industries: aviation and avionics, informatics and engineering services, food and beverage processing and related support industries, high-value business services, and marine and heavy industries. The organization adds that heritage tourism will also be a priority.

Read the full story.                   https://www.businessreport.com/article/lack-industrial-space-mean-acadiana-loses-projects-baton-rouge-study-suggests

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greg225    187
On 3/18/2016 at 11:14 PM, Antrell Williams said:

Didn't think they were so fun until I heard someone describe it. I could really enjoy one but does anyone think Baton Rouge will get one over New Orleans? 

I think Baton Rouge would see one before New Orleans our area have a better market for something like this. 

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11 hours ago, greg225 said:

I think Baton Rouge would see one before New Orleans our area have a better market for something like this. 

It's a huge entertainment venue usually in larger cities, I would think New Orleans would walk away with it. 

Putting it around the Mall of LA would be nice though.

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greg225    187

Together Baton Rouge starts petition drive to gain support for health district that includes most of city      

Together Baton Rouge officially kicked off a petition drive Monday evening to get 5,000 signatures from residents who support the creation of a health district that includes north Baton Rouge, Mid City, downtown and Old South Baton Rouge.

The coalition is giving itself until April 30 to gather the signatures and present them to the Metro Council, which would have to vote to create and establish the district.

The district Together Baton Rouge envisions would cater toward residents living in the 70801, 70802, 70805, 70806, 70807, 70811, 70812 and 70814 ZIP codes. The group says those areas are prone to the highest rates of premature deaths related to preventable illnesses. They also lack easy access to emergency room services since the closure of the Earl K. Long charity hospital, the move of Woman’s Hospital down Airline Highway and the elimination of the emergency room at the Baton Rouge General Mid City campus.

“We do have a situation where the area with the highest health care needs has the lowest number of hospitals facilities and professionals,” Broderick Bagert, lead organizer of Together Baton Rouge, said at a community meeting held at the St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church on Monday evening.

Approval of the district would require seven votes on the Metro Council, which would also appoint members to the district board and have authority over it, Bagert said. He added Together Baton Rouge could force the issue with a 25-signature petition process, but it doesn’t want to do that.

“We don’t think that’s the way to set this up, even though it’s sort of an extraordinary thing,” he said, pointing to a state law that says if a municipal board rejects a health district that the signatures of 25 landowners in the proposed district can force the creation of the district.

Together Baton Rouge officials admitted they don’t have all of the answers about how the health district would be financed or what it would ultimately look like in the end. They suggested the district board would figure out details such as what the hospital district should contain and funding options.

“What we’re proposing to do with this petition effort, and hopefully leading to a vote of the Metro Council, is not to nail all of those things down. That would require an intense process that has deep community engagement and serious expert consultation,” he said, adding other cities have relied on a combination of patient revenue, state and federal dollars and a voter-approved tax to fund health districts.

Citing a lack of access to emergency room services, some north Baton Rouge residents recently spoke out against the creation of a health district in south Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation withdrew its request for the Planning Commission to rezone land to formally create the district, but BRAF is nonetheless moving forward with its plan and recently hired an executive director to oversee the district.

Bagert said the health district proposed to serve north Baton Rouge is different than the one being established in south Baton Rouge simply because it’s about the provision of health care services, and not so much zoning and infrastructure.

Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel was on hand at Monday’s meeting, and told Bagert and Together Baton Rouge that when they come before the council they should be able to show how existing healthcare assets in the proposed district could be linked.

The Rev. Richard R. Andrus Jr. of St. Paul Apostle Catholic Church said the coalition is seeking 5,000 signatures as its goal because they don’t want to force the issue on the Metro Council. Instead, they want to show the council that the proposed hospital district is supported by and affects by a broad section of Baton Rouge residents.

“We want go get signatures from across Baton Rouge to show the Metro Council that this is important not only for this community for all of the city.” Andrus said.  https://www.businessreport.com/article/together-baton-rouge-starts-petition-drive-gain-support-health-district-includes-city

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greg225    187

I will sign the petition if this means that they will do every to get hospitals,mental health facilities and clinic's for NBR, Mid City and Old South BR.

Edited by greg225
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mr. bernham    125
On 3/22/2016 at 10:57 AM, greg225 said:

Together Baton Rouge starts petition drive to gain support for health district that includes most of city      

Together Baton Rouge officially kicked off a petition drive Monday evening to get 5,000 signatures from residents who support the creation of a health district that includes north Baton Rouge, Mid City, downtown and Old South Baton Rouge.

The coalition is giving itself until April 30 to gather the signatures and present them to the Metro Council, which would have to vote to create and establish the district.

The district Together Baton Rouge envisions would cater toward residents living in the 70801, 70802, 70805, 70806, 70807, 70811, 70812 and 70814 ZIP codes. The group says those areas are prone to the highest rates of premature deaths related to preventable illnesses. They also lack easy access to emergency room services since the closure of the Earl K. Long charity hospital, the move of Woman’s Hospital down Airline Highway and the elimination of the emergency room at the Baton Rouge General Mid City campus.

“We do have a situation where the area with the highest health care needs has the lowest number of hospitals facilities and professionals,” Broderick Bagert, lead organizer of Together Baton Rouge, said at a community meeting held at the St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church on Monday evening.

Approval of the district would require seven votes on the Metro Council, which would also appoint members to the district board and have authority over it, Bagert said. He added Together Baton Rouge could force the issue with a 25-signature petition process, but it doesn’t want to do that.

“We don’t think that’s the way to set this up, even though it’s sort of an extraordinary thing,” he said, pointing to a state law that says if a municipal board rejects a health district that the signatures of 25 landowners in the proposed district can force the creation of the district.

Together Baton Rouge officials admitted they don’t have all of the answers about how the health district would be financed or what it would ultimately look like in the end. They suggested the district board would figure out details such as what the hospital district should contain and funding options.

“What we’re proposing to do with this petition effort, and hopefully leading to a vote of the Metro Council, is not to nail all of those things down. That would require an intense process that has deep community engagement and serious expert consultation,” he said, adding other cities have relied on a combination of patient revenue, state and federal dollars and a voter-approved tax to fund health districts.

Citing a lack of access to emergency room services, some north Baton Rouge residents recently spoke out against the creation of a health district in south Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation withdrew its request for the Planning Commission to rezone land to formally create the district, but BRAF is nonetheless moving forward with its plan and recently hired an executive director to oversee the district.

Bagert said the health district proposed to serve north Baton Rouge is different than the one being established in south Baton Rouge simply because it’s about the provision of health care services, and not so much zoning and infrastructure.

Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel was on hand at Monday’s meeting, and told Bagert and Together Baton Rouge that when they come before the council they should be able to show how existing healthcare assets in the proposed district could be linked.

The Rev. Richard R. Andrus Jr. of St. Paul Apostle Catholic Church said the coalition is seeking 5,000 signatures as its goal because they don’t want to force the issue on the Metro Council. Instead, they want to show the council that the proposed hospital district is supported by and affects by a broad section of Baton Rouge residents.

“We want go get signatures from across Baton Rouge to show the Metro Council that this is important not only for this community for all of the city.” Andrus said.  https://www.businessreport.com/article/together-baton-rouge-starts-petition-drive-gain-support-health-district-includes-city

This is literally the dumbest thing I've ever read, and I've read transcripts of Donald Trump speaking. 

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greg225    187

Major downturn plagues Louisiana's film, TV industry 'Hollywood South' after big changes to tax credit program

Rihanna fought off aliens in “Battleship” at Celtic Studios’ Stage 6 in Baton Rouge.

Tom Cruise flew in a bubble ship in the hangar-sized space for “Oblivion.”

Stage 6 served as Planet Zero, an alternate universe, for “The Fantastic Four.”

Today?

“It’s a whole lot of nothing,” said Patrick Mulhearn, Celtic’s executive director, as he surveyed the empty facility last week. “It’s dormant. There’s been nothing shot on our stages since August.”

Louisiana’s film and television industry — popularly known as Hollywood South because of the large number of movies and shows filmed here over the past decade — has suffered a sharp downturn since mid-2015. Industry officials are blaming a law passed a year ago by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal — a law that aimed to control ballooning costs for a generous incentive program that independent analysts say has not provided much bang for the buck.

Other factors behind the slump include ever-sweeter subsidies offered by California, the industry’s natural home; competition from cap-free Georgia, a regional rival; and a weakening of the Canadian dollar, which has made it cheaper to film in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

“The movie tax credit is completely broken,” Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, said in an interview. He added that he will press for modifications when the Legislature next meets to consider changes to the state’s tax code, possibly later this year or during 2017, when tax reform will be a prime topic of debate.

During the first nine months of the current fiscal year, Louisiana Economic Development, the state agency that administers the program, received 61 applications from producers for tax credits to offset $225 million of filming costs in Louisiana. During the 12 months of the preceding fiscal year, by comparison, the agency received 138 applications to offset $1.2 billion in filming costs. That suggests a decline in film spending of about 75 percent.

As a result, soundstages in New Orleans and Baton Rouge — the metro areas where most of the filming typically takes place — are mostly vacant. FilmWorks, a soundstage in New Orleans East that opened to fanfare in 2014, is actually closing for good next week.

PfZ56uP.jpg

“Since July, everything has gone down, down, down,” said George Steiner, FilmWorks’ president.

The overall slump means supplier businesses and their employees throughout the state also are taking a hit.

“A year ago, everyone was working and then some,” said Cory Parker, the business agent for union workers who handle costumes, build sets and provide special effects. “About 36 percent of our membership was working as of a week ago. The work has obviously slowed down.”

Last year, facing a budget crunch, state lawmakers and Jindal set a cap on the amount that the state could spend on film tax credits for each of the next three years. They did it in a way, industry officials say, that has particularly scared off Hollywood producers.

“Last year’s legislation turned everyone’s attitude from confidence to uncertainty,” said Herb Gaines, a producer who also owns Big Easy Studios in New Orleans East. “That is causing people to look elsewhere. It’s a global market. There are a lot of choices. From Louisiana being a part of the conversation in nearly every film, it’s often no longer considered.”

The law in question limited the amount taxpayers can spend in film tax credits at $180 million per year. That was down from $246 million spent in 2013 and $222 million in 2014.

In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, through February, the state awarded $120 million of credits, said Kimberly Robinson, secretary of the Department of Revenue. She expects the $180 million cap will be reached by the end of the fiscal year on June 30 — in part because taxpayers are cashing in unredeemed film credits earned in earlier years.

Lawmakers and Jindal imposed the cap amid concerns that the state’s program had become too open-handed at a time when officials were facing further cuts to colleges and universities.

Under the program, the state reimburses movie and television producers for 30 percent of their local costs incurred while filming in Louisiana. This means that taxpayers write checks to producers in what critics call “corporate welfare.”

Analysts point out that the $200-plus million the state has been spending in recent years to subsidize the filming could instead go to fix roadways, hire more professors and staff at LSU, Southern University of New Orleans and the University of New Orleans, and provide more nurses for the state hospital system.

Hover over or tap the graphic below to see changes in film tax credit amounts over the years.

In fact, independent economists don’t believe the state has done well at all on a cost-benefit analysis.

A 2015 study for Louisiana Economic Development found that the program generated only 23 cents in tax revenue for every dollar paid out by taxpayers in 2014.

Loren Scott, the retired LSU professor who conducted the study, said his analysis included the economic benefit and jobs created by supplier companies hired by the producers. The film industry’s own study paints a rosier picture.

“If the purpose from the state’s perspective is to have an activity that generates tax dollars to offset the tax benefit, then it did not work,” said Jim Richardson, an LSU professor who also has studied the tax credit program. “A private business would shut it down. In the process of shutting it down, people who have made investments will say, ‘Hey, it’s not fair to me.’ But nothing in the book says any tax law is forever.”

Jeff Galpin is one of those who believes legislators and Jindal made a big mistake last year.

Galpin, 47, is a stunt man and stunt coordinator who lives in River Ridge. He said he had been working about 300 days per year.

“But now it’s dying,” Galpin said. “I’m worried about having a job. They forget about the guys like me who the tax credit was supposed to help. A lot of us spend every nickel here.”

Business is down this year by 25 percent for Andre Champagne, owner of New Orleans-based Hollywood Trucks, which has a fleet of 300 vehicles that serve the film and television industry.

Mi Mi Montagnet Bankston, a commercial and residential real estate broker in New Orleans, is seeing a sharp drop in high-end rentals for actors, directors and producers.

Silver Screen Group, a New Orleans-based company that rents equipment to filmmakers, has laid off 15 of its 30 employees, said its president, Robert Vosbein.

“I know of TV productions that have moved to Atlanta,” said Stephen Perry, president and chief executive officer of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In all, the Legislature passed 14 bills dealing with the film tax credit program last year, said Christopher Stelly, who administers it as executive director of Louisiana Economic Development.

Some of the measures aim to stamp out fraud. Others no longer allow credits for spending that does not materially benefit Louisiana’s economy, such as on airline tickets and bond fees paid to investors. Still others attempt to provide more accurate numbers by having the economic development agency, and not those seeking the tax credits, hire the accounting firm to certify the amount that can be claimed.

But the biggest impact has come from Act 134, by then-state Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, which imposed the $180 million cap.

Leaders with the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association fought Robideaux. When it became obvious that they would lose, they pushed for a cap on the amount of credits that the economic development agency certified each year as being eligible — the first step in the process.

Instead, in a last-minute decision to help fill the 2015 budget gap, lawmakers capped the amount that the state actually will pay out each year in already certified credits.

The Legislature’s decision means that producers can qualify for an unlimited amount of tax credits, but they can cash in only $180 million per year.

Ex9T2DE.jpg

“The problem is the instability,” said Susan Brennan, owner of Second Line Stages in New Orleans, adding that producers are worrying that the state will take too long to pay them for credits they have qualified for.

Brennan said she has lost two TV series filmed at her studios — “American Horror Story” and “Scream Queens” — to California and a movie to Canada. Nonetheless, she said she is confident something will turn up soon.

“We have great tax credits,” she said.

Adding to the uncertainty is a one-year suspension of the program that allows producers who don’t have a tax liability in the state to sell their credits directly to the state for a check worth 85 cents on the dollar. That suspension ends June 30.

Robinson, the revenue secretary, expects a flood of producers cashing in their tax credits to the state beginning July 1 — because only the first $180 million can be paid out for the entire year.

In total, producers have qualified for an estimated $500 million in tax credits that they have yet to draw from the state. If that figure is correct — and state officials aren’t entirely sure — then Louisiana owes more than two years’ worth of tax credits before any more movies or films are shot in Louisiana.

MORE FILM TAX CREDIT COVERAGE

-- The Advocate's 2015 Giving Away Louisiana series: Film tax incentives: State’s program is popular, fast-growing but a major money-loser

-- ‘Passion’ broadcast could cost Louisiana taxpayers up to $3 million because of film tax credits

-- Hollywood producer Peter Hoffman avoids lengthy prison sentence in Louisiana film tax credit fraud case

***

http://theadvocate.com/news/15300902-63/major-downturn-plagues-louisianas-film-tv-industry-hollywood-south-after-big-changes-to-film-tax-cre

 

 

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greg225    187

Congressman calls for overhaul of CATS, says system isn’t working       

With ridership on the Capital Area Transit System’s rebranded Red Stick Trolley—formerly the Garden District Trolley—continuing to dwindle, Congressman Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, is calling for the agency to do away with the route and reevaluate just about every aspect of its operations.

“The CATS system is a disaster,” Graves says. “It should be blown up and we should start over again.”

Graves, who has made addressing the area’s transportation infrastructure issues and chronic gridlock one of his main priorities, says CATS is part of the problem not the solution. He says the Red Stick Trolley is an example of a failed idea that is wasting taxpayer dollars.

“If they’re dead set on having people drive empty vehicles around, give them scooters,” he says. “It’s beyond a demonstrated failure. Stop bleeding the money and let’s put it in other things.”

Graves lives in the Garden District, which the trolley was created to serve in early 2015, and says he is frustrated on visits home to the district to see the trolley cruising up and down neighborhood streets—almost always without passengers.

Statistics back up Graves’ anecdotal observations, which have been shared by many. In the first two months of 2016, ridership averaged just 176 passengers per month, or about six per day. That’s fewer passengers than the lowest month of 2015, which had 182 passengers. On average, the trolley had about 15 riders per day last year.

“We agree with Congressman Graves that we don’t want empty buses on our routes,” says CATS CEO Bob Mirabito in a written response to Graves’ comments. “That’s why we are working both to improve the marketing of our services and to make it easier, through House Bill 159, for CATS to change and delete its routes based on ridership.”

HB 159 would allow the CATS board to make route changes and fare increases without having to first seek Metro Council approval.

CATS board president Jim Brandt says while the agency has tried marketing the Red Stick Trolley somewhat more aggressively in recent months, the lack of ridership is getting to the point where a decision on the route is forthcoming. At its meeting in April, the board will discuss the trolley’s fate.

“It’s a timely question and one that we, as a board, are getting ready to address,” he says. “If we can make a success of the service  that would be great but if it doesn’t work we can’t carry it forever.”     https://www.businessreport.com/article/congressman-calls-overhaul-cats-says-system-isnt-working

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cajun    534
On 3/24/2016 at 10:19 PM, Antrell Williams said:

Care to elaborate?

For starters, the medical district is research and education focused.   There's no new ER being built there, and the only hospital expansion comes from the Children's hospital, which is already underway.    Blocking it and moving it to north Baton Rouge still won't bring an ER to the area.....but it would successfully kill an effort designed to improve medical outcomes and education state wide and significantly improve the local economy.      The move has the potential for nothing but driving up voter turnout in the mayor's election and killing a project that Baton Rouge and the state desperately needs.  

Just more proof that this is about getting even and righting a perceived racial injustice.   This is entirely emotionally driven nonsense in an election year orchestrated by politicians that are vying to replace Kip Holden.   It's miles away from anything close to logical.  

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greg225    187
31 minutes ago, cajun said:

For starters, the medical district is research and education focused.   There's no new ER being built there, and the only hospital expansion comes from the Children's hospital, which is already underway.    Blocking it and moving it to north Baton Rouge still won't bring an ER to the area.....but it would successfully kill an effort designed to improve medical outcomes and education state wide and significantly improve the local economy.      The move has the potential for nothing but driving up voter turnout in the mayor's election and killing a project that Baton Rouge and the state desperately needs.  

Just more proof that this is about getting even and righting a perceived racial injustice.   This is entirely emotionally driven nonsense in an election year orchestrated by politicians that are vying to replace Kip Holden.   It's miles away from anything close to logical.  

That's not what article was about, it wasn't about moving the health district. It was about creating medical options including a hospital with a ER in area's that need it most.

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cajun    534
4 minutes ago, greg225 said:

That's not what article was about, it wasn't about moving the health district. It was about creating medical options including a hospital with a ER in area's that need it most.

From the article: 

Citing a lack of access to emergency room services, some north Baton Rouge residents recently spoke out against the creation of a health district in south Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation withdrew its request for the Planning Commission to rezone land to formally create the district, but BRAF is nonetheless moving forward with its plan and recently hired an executive director to oversee the district.

 

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greg225    187
3 minutes ago, cajun said:

From the article: 

 

 

You said they trying to move it that's not true. They was against the medical district because there tax dollars are be used in that area.

Edited by greg225

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9 hours ago, cajun said:

For starters, the medical district is research and education focused.   There's no new ER being built there, and the only hospital expansion comes from the Children's hospital, which is already underway.    Blocking it and moving it to north Baton Rouge still won't bring an ER to the area.....but it would successfully kill an effort designed to improve medical outcomes and education state wide and significantly improve the local economy.      The move has the potential for nothing but driving up voter turnout in the mayor's election and killing a project that Baton Rouge and the state desperately needs.  

Just more proof that this is about getting even and righting a perceived racial injustice.   This is entirely emotionally driven nonsense in an election year orchestrated by politicians that are vying to replace Kip Holden.   It's miles away from anything close to logical.  

I know how you feel about it.

I specifically wanted his answer.

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