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Baton Rouge Growth and Development

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^Glad they chose BR!

A long time ago they admitted they "goofed" when they decided to run I-12 thru the Drusilla/Jefferson/Essen area..

State to seek bids for new Essen exit

The state plans to seek bids in the middle of 2012 for a project that will create an Essen Lane exit off Interstate 12 for westbound motorists, officials said Thursday. The project will take about two years and ease traffic using the Drusilla Lane exit and the “flyover” from I-12 westbound to eastbound I-10, said Sherri LeBas, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development.

The cost is expected to be between $10 million and $15 million, according to department officials.The Legislature authorized $12 million for the project earlier this year.The State Bond Commission endorsed the plan last month.

Westbound motorists on I-12 often use the Drusilla Lane exit, turn left, then right on Jefferson Highway to get to Essen Lane, which is a major north-south corridor. Huge backups in both directions for traffic turning off Jefferson onto Essen are common. Others continue on I-12 using the “flyover” that connects motorists to I-10 eastbound, where they can then exit to go north or south on Essen. However, near bumper-to-bumper traffic along Essen is also common.

Opening an Essen Lane exit on I-12 will reduce traffic by about 2,000 vehicles using Drusilla each day and by about 6,000 motorists using the “flyover” daily. The exit onto Essen would only allow motorists to travel southbound on Essen, officials said. In addition, the project will widen Essen Lane from two lanes to three lanes from I-12 to I-10

http://theadvocate.c...k-bids-for.html

Edited by richyb83
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Should have been an Essen Ln exit from the get-go. The Drusilla/Jefferson/I-12 area is a mess and that engineer should have been demoted. There should be EB and WB exits on Jefferson rather than Drusilla.

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Construction contract inked for wood pellet plant at port

The energy company planning to build a $120 million wood pellet manufacturing plant at the Port of Baton Rouge says it has signed a construction contract. Point Bio Energy Chairman and CEO William New says the Conti Group is expected to break ground on the plant at the end of the first quarter of 2012. "We need to start deliveries in the second quarter of 2013," he says. Contracts with European utilities that plan to burn the wood pellets with coal to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere are in place, New says, though he declines to identify the utilities. When complete, the plant is expected to be among the largest of its kind in the country, producing about 400,000 tons of wood pellets for fuel per year. The pellets are made from pulpwood and forest thinnings—small trees cut down so others will grow faster. The plant is expected to have 87 workers with a $6 million-plus annual payroll, and bring about $825,000 a year to the Port of Baton Rouge. The port's board approved a 20-year lease with Point Bio last year. The company is currently based in LaPointe, Wis., but plans to move its headquarters to Baton Rouge.

Businessreport.com

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Wish all these new companies would occupy a new office tower downtown. Maybe one tower, maybe 3 smaller ones.

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Wish all these new companies would occupy a new office tower downtown. Maybe one tower, maybe 3 smaller ones.

This is Baton Rouge! Offices don't belong in towers downtown, they belong in suburban office parks that look like faux acadian homes with awkward proportions and cheap copper awnings. #sarcasm :thumbsup:

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This is Baton Rouge! Offices don't belong in towers downtown, they belong in suburban office parks that look like faux acadian homes with awkward proportions and cheap copper awnings. #sarcasm :thumbsup:

Sad thing is, you're 100% right. If the offices on Essen were downtown, it'd be a much different place.

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You got that right! BR's thirst for all the faux acadian suburban garden offices is unquenchable <_< Hard to imagine the downtown skyline growing in the future.

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It would take a miracle, a work of God to get a tower, an office one at that.

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This is Baton Rouge! Offices don't belong in towers downtown, they belong in suburban office parks that look like faux acadian homes with awkward proportions and cheap copper awnings. #sarcasm :thumbsup:

Those business you are making fun of can't afford nor have a need to be downtown. Their customers are in the suburbs so that's where they are.

I work downtown and not once have I heard any executive say "can't talk, heading to (corporate name) headquarters in Prairieville/Denham/etc

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Those business you are making fun of can't afford nor have a need to be downtown. Their customers are in the suburbs so that's where they are.

I work downtown and not once have I heard any executive say "can't talk, heading to (corporate name) headquarters in Prairieville/Denham/etc

I am very aware of the history of development within our nation. I understand the social and economic drivers that brought businesses to the suburbs. That is in fact why I feel perfectly at home criticizing the arrangement.

Also, you must understand, when I say suburbs, I don't mean Denham or Prairieville, I mean anything that exist outside of downtown. ALL of Baton Rouge is suburban development wether it be college, essen, bluebonnet or seigen.

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I am very aware of the history of development within our nation. I understand the social and economic drivers that brought businesses to the suburbs. That is in fact why I feel perfectly at home criticizing the arrangement.

Also, you must understand, when I say suburbs, I don't mean Denham or Prairieville, I mean anything that exist outside of downtown. ALL of Baton Rouge is suburban development wether it be college, essen, bluebonnet or seigen.

That makes your mocking of businesses even sillier. So in your mind the only good business is one in downtown Baton Rouge.

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Not so much. Shaw being on Essen impacts the are less versus if it was downtown. Jacobs too.

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That makes your mocking of businesses even sillier. So in your mind the only good business is one in downtown Baton Rouge.

Yes.

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Loans clear way for apartment projects

The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority’s board approved a $350,000 loan Thursday to help an Idaho-based affordable housing developer rehabilitate a dilapidated apartment development in Melrose East.

Ardenwood Apartments, an 18-building, 207-unit complex with 129 units reserved for Section 8 rental assistance, will be reborn as Renaissance Gateway by April 2013.

The board also approved an $841,100 loan for The Elysian, a 100-unit mixed-income development on Spanish Town Road east of Interstate 110. That project, announced in 2010, will start construction next year and is being developed by Donnie Jarreau and the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership.

The $350,000 in gap financing approved for Ardenwood on Thursday is just a portion of the $23.5 million that Caldwell, Idaho-based Community Development Inc. will spend on the project, which is located behind BREC’s Florida Boulevard headquarters.

The loan, at 5 percent interest for three years, will go toward predevelopment costs required for CDI to take over the project from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, RDA project manager Susanna Bing said.

Board member Van Mayhall noted the per-unit development cost seems high, and RDA President Walter Monsour explained that CDI believes it can make it work. He said that the project is particularly important and has the support of Mayor-President Kip Holden, Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins Lewis and state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome.

Monsour and Bing explained that the complex, which has many units uninhabitable because of water damage, needs to be rehabbed, not demolished, according to HUD rules. If it were bulldozed and the Section 8 recipients were given vouchers, they would head out into a housing market unable to provide them with a place to live.

Bing said market studies indicate north Baton Rouge is 1,000 units short of demand for voucher-supported housing, and that is expected to grow by up to 500 units a year through 2015.

If Melrose East were to lose Ardenwood, Monsour said, “there’s no place for them to go.”

Bing said CDI’s work will include gutting each building and completely rehabbing the exteriors, including replacing the flat roofs with pitched roofs. The cost also includes temporary relocation of residents during construction. Bing said she’s not sure how many people currently live there.

After CDI acquires the property from the city-parish housing authority, it will assume an existing $800,000 HUD loan and apply to the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency for tax-exempt bond financing and housing tax credits, which will total $19 million. It will also get $1.75 million in HOME loans approved by the city-parish and $2 million from the Louisiana Office of Community Development.

Mayhall said that given the circumstances, he thinks the RDA’s loan for the project is worthy, even if it appears to be an expensive undertaking on the part of CDI.

http://theadvocate.com/news/1353023-123/loans-clear-way-for-apartment.html

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Yes.

Downtown needs another office tower like Livingston needs another trailer park. Millions of square feet of office space (both private and government owned) have been added to downtown since the mid 1990s, and virtually no residential options during that time frame.

The office tower represents the rat race that many people fight today. The American tradition of dense commercial office space in their business districts surrounded by low density residential makes it impossible to commute on foot and only forces people to commute by car. Nearly 40,000 people work downtown, and less than 5,000 of them live downtown.

If I had it my way, no new building would be higher than 10 floors until more residential space was added to the area.

Baton Rouge needs more residential space downtown...desperately. There is demand for mid priced housing units for some of those state workers, young professionals, and singles. By this, I don't mean subsidized.

Hotels and condos for now. Not office buildings.

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Downtown needs another office tower like Livingston needs another trailer park. Millions of square feet of office space (both private and government owned) have been added to downtown since the mid 1990s, and virtually no residential options during that time frame.

The office tower represents the rat race that many people fight today. The American tradition of dense commercial office space in their business districts surrounded by low density residential makes it impossible to commute on foot and only forces people to commute by car. Nearly 40,000 people work downtown, and less than 5,000 of them live downtown.

If I had it my way, no new building would be higher than 10 floors until more residential space was added to the area.

Baton Rouge needs more residential space downtown...desperately. There is demand for mid priced housing units for some of those state workers, young professionals, and singles. By this, I don't mean subsidized.

Hotels and condos for now. Not office buildings.

Well said!

Glad to see you're back Cajun. I hope its not a temporary comeback either. I always appreciate your well reasoned opinions, even if we do occasionally disagree. :thumbsup:

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Baton Rouge needs more residential space downtown...desperately. There is demand for mid priced housing units for some of those state workers, young professionals, and singles. By this, I don't mean subsidized.

If there really was a sizable demand then there would be housing built.

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With RiverPlace delay after delay...I have always wanted a mixed-use tower...street-level retail/parking garage on lower levels; then offices at the mid-levels with hotel or condo's on top....just something to add to the skyline... there is the realization this is a pipe-dream....at least something to replace One American Place as BR's 2nd Tallest...a thread from a while back I started "just for fun"

I have no problem with a "few" tall buildings outside of downtown...like a mini-Uptown or mini-Buckhead...it seems like Shaw could consolidate it's offices around the city and head downtown in a decent economy...

This poster in another forum speaks with some common ground....

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php/topic/53041-uptown-charlotte-skyscraper-prognostication/

It's sad when the Presbyterian Apts on North Street is city's(downtown) tallest residential building...

The SpanishTown Civic Assoc. struck a significant blow to the critical-mass for residential needed for the services when Capitol Lofts proposal went up n smoke :stop:

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We need offices and residential, as well as retail and nightlife. A full service downtown.

I have a feeling a tower will be built, some kind of condotel. Couldn't happen soon enough..

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If there really was a sizable demand then there would be housing built.

They are building some right now actually. Before the recession at least 2,000 units were planned in and around downtown to be phased in over the next decade. I know I've mentioned this to you before, including the names of the developments, but I don't feel like digging up the old post and I would just end up wasting my own time.

However it's the chicken in then egg. Even if people want to live downtown the services they desire aren't located there (yet), its impossible to abandon your car because of the lack of reliable public transportation and any decent shopping requires you to hop on the interstate to drive to bluebonnet. I live downtown and I tried it for two weeks, it just doesn't work in this city. However it works great in New Orleans!

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I was speaking more from planning perspective.

UP doesn't speak "free market"....although I wouldn't be surprised if demand for residential space exists downtown. Definitely not a skyscraper's worth. Still a housing crunch- and will be for at least another 5 years.

BTW....Grimmer lost in Livingston, so support for the loop might be back on.

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There's a demand, thats why Kress Third and Main only have 5 leasing units available. There are lots of rentals and homes on the market downtown, hope they will slowly fill up. I'd be sure to grab one if I was going to stay in Baton Rouge.

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Ochsner completes Central health center

Ochsner Health System will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday from 9 to 10 a.m. to mark the opening of its $2.2 million health center in Central. The project has been under construction since February. The expanded clinic, located at 11424 Sullivan Road in Central Park Professional Plaza, was constructed by Central native and developer Brandon Rogillio and designed by Central contractor TBT Industries and Scott Ritter of Ritter Maher Architects. The 7,500-square-foot facility features 12 exam rooms, laboratory services and imaging services including X-ray. Speakers on Wednesday will include Ochsner Baton Rouge Region CEO Mitch Wasden, Congressman Bill Cassidy, Central Chamber of Commerce President Ron Erickson, Central Mayor Shelton "Mac" Watts, Ochsner Baton Rouge Region Medical Director Dr. Robert Hart, and Ochsner Central Lead Physician Dr. Keith Holmes. "Ochsner wants to make health care more convenient for our patients and their families, and opening clinics such as this one allows us to do just that," Wasden says. Ochsner will host a free, family-friendly grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to give area families the opportunity to tour the facility and meet its physicians.

businessreport.com

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