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Looks very nice...Where is that?  Towne Center should have taken a cue from this! Then they may have been a TRUE Towne Center...instead of the fragmented thing you have now! Though a nice looking development...They really dropped the ball! Integrating the residential with the retail...with the mini-park inside the urban village...would have been great benefits!

I would be surprised if anything was over 5-stories(residential) for the Westmoreland redevelopment

Towne Center, under new management could be really, really, nice. Not all hope is lost. Same can be said for Citi Place.

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Im working on four projects on Government right now, none of which are covered in the article. Two are new construction, one a tenant build out  and the fourth is hard to describe with out revealing t

They need street parking.   You'll never get pedestrians on that street unless there is a line of parked cars between them and the traffic.     You can see Google Street View of Madison Aven

Square 46 now  going vertical ...will  include residences, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, businesses and the gourmet food hall White Star Market.  A game changer on Government Street in Mid City

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mid City: The next frontier          

Developers are turning their attention to Mid City. Can they overcome the challenges of infrastructure and crime, and maintain the neighborhood’s roots?

As an architecture student some 15 years ago, Joshua Hoffpauir worked on a senior project focused on Government Street, the main artery of Baton Rouge’s Mid City.

“There was a ton of potential,” he says. “But there was nobody willing to take a chance on it.”

Crime was high, facades were crumbling, and block after block was severely underused. But there were plenty of charming old buildings, not to mention a functional street grid, a rarity for Baton Rouge. That grid ties right into downtown, which was emerging from its own death spiral.

With perhaps $2 billion in private, public and nonprofit investment (counting projects still in progress) since 1987, downtown is well into its resurgence. Mid City might be next.

Hoffpauir is developing Square 46, a mixed-use project at the former Giamanco’s restaurant site fronting Government, Mouton and Moore streets. His plans include residences, dining and shopping.

“There’s something about this generation that’s coming up that want to have a more urban lifestyle and see this as an opportunity,” he says.

As anyone who makes the bumpy drive down Government Street can attest, the problems Hoffpauir saw as a student have not disappeared. But artists have embraced Mid City, and it boasts a diversity of class, race and culture not often found in Baton Rouge. Millennials and younger Gen-Xers in particular are showing interest, rejecting both the suburbs and the high cost of downtown.

Mid City has potential, as Hoffpauir suggests. But it’s still waiting for a spark.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

In 1991, Elizabeth “Boo” Thomas, currently president and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence, was part of the team developing the Horizon Plan meant to guide development in East Baton Rouge Parish over the following two decades. She focused on the area now known as Mid City.

“It wasn’t even called Mid City then,” she says. “We gave it that name.”

They delineated Mid City by the interstate on the west and south, College and Foster drives on the east and North Street on the north. While the area is defined in various ways, it’s perhaps useful to think of the Government and Florida Boulevard corridors (including adjacent neighborhoods) from downtown to Lobdell Avenue as the core of Mid City.

Thomas says Baton Rouge General Medical Center spent more than $40 million upgrading its Mid City facility, but was disappointed when it didn’t spur improvements in the surrounding community. Hoping to make a sustainable difference, the General started the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, hiring Thomas as its first director.

With backing from the General, the alliance spruced up existing homes and built new ones, helped eliminate blight and offered classes for first-time homebuyers. Mid City was a very different place then.

“My friends would take me to see some houses, and they would say, ‘I just don’t think you should be driving in this neighborhood by yourself,’” Thomas recalls. “Now it’s totally fine, and it’s getting better every day.”

(Photo by Brian Baiamonte) Samuel Sanders, executive director, Mid City Redevelopment Alliance(Photo by Brian Baiamonte) Samuel Sanders, executive director, Mid City Redevelopment Alliance

Samuel Sanders is the current executive director of the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, now an independent nonprofit with the freedom to lead its own development projects or partner with organizations that have greater resources. For example, the MCRA helped the New Orleans-based Gulf Coast Housing Partnership on a project at the former site of an Olinde’s furniture store called The Corona, collecting a $100,000 development fee.

“That’s serious business for us,” Sanders says with a laugh.

Sanders, who has been with the alliance since 2003 and took over as director in 2006, says he has been fielding more calls from people interested in Mid City since FuturEBR was ratified in 2011. The parish’s current master plan, among other objectives, seeks to promote infill development.

Those callers often ask about economic incentives, of which there aren’t very many. Much of Mid City is in a state-recognized cultural district, which means original art can be sold without sales taxes. Tax credits are available for renovating historic buildings, and businesses can apply for tax abatements in the low-income census tract between downtown and Acadian Thruway. The MCRA offers small grants for façade improvements.

Sanders says downtown’s revitalization is important for Mid City, and says the latter could be a “bedroom community” for downtown workers.

“The buzz is real,” Sanders says. “We felt like we were beating the drum, and no one was listening. Now, it feels like we don’t have to beat as loudly, because others are beating it for us.”     https://www.businessreport.com/realestate/mid-city-next-frontier

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Mid City: Can Government Street be transformed into the next Magazine Street?  

When asked about their hopes for Government Street, area business owners and residents often say they’d like it to be more like Magazine Street, the pedestrian-oriented community of boutiques, galleries and cafés in New Orleans. But in its current state, the roadway is much more conducive to driving past the local businesses than browsing.

The Mid City Merchants Association holds an annual White Light Night art hop, but the presence of shuttle vans and buses highlights the fact that the city’s main arts district isn’t very walkable. In 2013 the city turned part of Government Street into a “Better Block,” simulating a bike path, landscaping, street side parking, proper crosswalks and signage, and a popup coffee shop. But that was all a temporary setup for a single weekend.

But now, the state is planning a major revamp of Government Street from Interstate 110 to Jefferson Highway, so that it lives up to Louisiana’s new “Complete Streets” policy of making sure that roads effectively serve all appropriate users, not just drivers. The Department of Transportation and Development also wants to improve safety for automobiles; the agency says more than 800 crashes happened on that stretch of road during a three-year study period.

As currently conceived, the project consists of rehabilitating the existing pavement and putting Government on a “road diet,” reducing the number of travel lanes from four (two lanes in each direction) to three (one travel lane in each direction with a center two-way-left-turn-lane). A multimodal section of roadway could be added to accommodate bicycle lanes, on-street parking, wider sidewalks and/or bus turnouts.

The approaches to the Foster Drive intersection would remain as five lanes, and there would be two thru-lanes in the eastbound direction between Foster and Jefferson Highway. A single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Government and Lobdell Avenue is also proposed. Once the $7.5 million to $10 million project is complete, plans are to turn the road over to the city-parish.

Without taking a scientific poll, it does appear so far that most active Mid City stakeholders favor the road diet. There have been objections to reducing the number of travel lanes, but DOTD and project design consultant Stantec say the dedicated turn lane will improve traffic flow so that capacity isn’t reduced as much as one might think.

However, there is still time to raise objections and concerns. Once Stantec reviews and addresses DOTD’s comments on the safety and traffic analysis, a public meeting will be scheduled.  https://www.businessreport.com/realestate/next-magazine-street

Two new residential neighborhoods planned for Old Goodwood area  

Designer and developer Mike Hogstrom is planning two separate residential projects in the Goodwood Area.

The first will be called Township at Old Goodwood and will be a traditional residential design subdivision of eight single-family homes on a 1.7-acre tract at Lobdell and Lasalle Avenues. The homes will average around 3,000 square feet and will be priced between $220 and $230 per square foot.

Hogstrom—whose firm, Onsight Design, recently completed development of E’tage Gardens on Government Street near Jefferson Highway—says the design style of Township at Old Goodwood will be more English Country and traditional than E’tage Gardens. Though Hogstrom has applied for zoning for the project as Infill Small Planned Use Development, or ISPUD, the density of the neighborhood at 4.7 units per acre is not very different than that of A-1 single family zoning, which is 4.1 units per acre.

Nearby, Hogstrom is also planning to develop a slightly larger residential development of 17 lots on a 3.17-acre tract at Old Hammond Highway and Cove Court. The Small Planned Use Development, or SPUD, will be called Overton Walk and will target a slightly different demographic—empty nesters and Baby Boomers—who want to downsize in space, but not in quality. Homes in Overton will average between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet and will be priced between $200 and $210 per square foot.

Though the two projects are unrelated, Hogstrom says they are similar in what they are trying to achieve—namely to provide high end, new residential construction in a sector of the market that he believes is underserved.

“If you look at the current Baby Boomer market, there are a lot of options for them on the south side of I-10—like Willow Grove, Harveston and Rouzan,” he says. “I believe there is a pent-up demand on the north side of I-10 in the Goodwood, Mid City, Jefferson Place areas.”

If early interest in the two projects is any indication, Hogstrom is on to something. Already, he says, more than 90% of the lots in Overton and Township are pre-sold.

“These are in a great location, just half a mile each from Towne Center,” he says. “This is an area where traffic still moves. There are lots of nice places to shop, eat, walk and play.”

Hogstrom submitted applications for the two projects to the Planning Commission this morning. The commission will take them up for approval at its September meeting.  https://www.businessreport.com/article/two-new-residential-neighborhoods-planned-old-goodwood-area

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Radio Bar owners plan to build new beer garden in Mid City   

The owners of Radio Bar are planning their next Mid City business venture: a beer garden that would be located about a half mile down Government Street from the popular bar they opened about four years ago.

“It’s going to be a beer garden with a lot of covered patio space outdoors where the community can come to gather and hang out,” says Brian Baiamonte, who co-owns Radio Bar with Dave Remmetter. “It’s going to be a pretty cool concept.”

Radio Bar manager Kelli Paxton is going to be a co-owner in the new venture with Baiamonte, who is also a photographer for Business Report, and Remmetter. They submitted an application today to the city-parish Planning Commission requesting the property at 3808 Government St., which is at the intersection of Steele Boulevard, to be rezoned to allow for alcohol sales at the site of the planned beer garden. The commission will take up the request for the zoning change on the vacant property at its September 21 meeting.

“This is just the first step, but we’d like to do it within a year,” Baiamonte says of the development plan. “We’re going to do it as fast as possible.”

As for a name, Baiamonte says that’s not been nailed down just yet, adding “we’re leaning toward Mid City Beer Garden.” According to the rezoning request filed today, the development would include two parking lot entrances and exits—one to Government Street and the other to Steele Boulevard.

Read about other new developments in Mid City in the cover story of the current issue of Business Report.      https://www.businessreport.com/article/radio-bar-owners-plan-build-new-beer-garden-mid-city         jpeg

Edited by greg225
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Westmoreland Shopping Center ready and waiting for a transformation     BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The Westmoreland Shopping Center, once part of a thriving Mid-City is set to be transformed sooner than later, according to officials connected to the project.

A trust within the adjacent Catholic High School owns the property. Recently, they put out a request to hear what developers could build on the site.

Catholic High President Gene Tullier says he would like to see something built that would cater to the neighborhood and the thousands of young people who go to the nearby high schools.

"Maybe some residential, certainly some office, some commercial, something that has a youthful appeal, that appeals to the neighborhood and serves the entire neighborhood," he said. "It was not just an eyesore, it was a danger to the community."

Tullier says the school will use the back portion of the land, but the remaining portion which fronts to Government Street will be developed according to their master plan.

The Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance has had its sights set on the property for decades as an anchor for Mid-City.

Samuel Sanders, the director of the Mid-City Alliance says everyone is ready to see the transformation.

It's very important, I mean, I can't go anywhere and not talk about the Westmoreland shopping center," he said. "Everybody is excited that something is actually being planned and will be done and the residents here are just excited about something coming here and add to their quality of life."   http://www.wafb.com/story/29730019/westmoreland-shopping-center-ready-and-waiting-for-a-transformation

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Saw that story last night on WAFB...looks like this really will happen!  Hopefully this will be done right! Could really transform the area....plenty of future projects for the Government Street corridor

 

What happened to the thumbs up emoticon???  Not sure i like this new format here on UP for several reasons...+ BR had over 20,000 post before...with new set-up lost like 1,000 post...Shreveport & NOLA had well over 5,000..but now only 2,000/3,000

Edited by richyb83
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Saw that story last night on WAFB...looks like this really will happen!  Hopefully this will be done right! Could really transform the area....plenty of future projects for the Government Street corridor

 

What happened to the thumbs up emoticon???  Not sure i like this new format here on UP for several reasons...+ BR had over 20,000 post before...with new set-up lost like 1,000 post...Shreveport & NOLA had well over 5,000..but now only 2,000/3,000

I don't like this new format either, but I didn't want to be the first one to say it, lol.

But yeah, hopefully thisthis turns into something nice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Baton Rouge General’s Mid City study to be completed by fourth quarter              

Consultants have been in Baton Rouge in recent weeks meeting with community leaders as they evaluate options for the Mid City campus of Baton Rouge General Hospital, which closed its emergency room earlier this year.

Hospital officials say it will likely be the end of the year before they get a final recommendation on what to do with the Florida Street facility, which remains open but has seen its average daily census decline to about 78 since shuttering the emergency room in March.

Hospital officials previously have said among the likely options for the facility are a post-acute care or rehab hospital, or perhaps a mental health care facility. Those possibilities remain on the table.

“At this point, we’re still in the early phases of planning—reviewing industry trends and projections for the future, analyzing community needs, and evaluating patient demand, which has declined since the closure of the Mid City ER, as we expected,” says hospital spokesperson Meghan Parrish. “We’re working closely with our advisers and they are checking in regularly with the administration on their progress. Each path we go down creates a number of new factors to consider and impacts the community, our staff and our patients in different ways.”

General Health Systems, which owns Baton Rouge General Hospital’s facilities in Mid City and on Bluebonnet Boulevard, has said it wants to keep the hospital open in some sort of capacity.         https://www.businessreport.com/article/baton-rouge-generals-mid-city-study-completed-fourth-quarter

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Thanks for the interesting video!   Which option would you like to see implemented for Government Street?  There are some upset people in that area not wanting to see a road diet...

I'd like to see a trail run to see if it really works...the did the special experimental model block awhile back; but don't remember if it was a success?

Edited by richyb83
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Just to give an update from CHS:

Last year CHS allowed for student parking in the entire Westmoreland area, I mean every inch that you could park in was filled. That is changing now, they are limiting Student Parking to the very back of the lot and a small area between the shopping center and CVS facing Government St. and a lot of rumors (with concrete basis) are swirling around that are talking about a two to three story student parking garage that would go where student parking is currently located. This garage would completely solve any parking issues a Westmoreland Expansion would bring. In addition to this the school will be constructing new classrooms to help feed the growing number of students...as a part of these plans a new Union is supposedly in the works. 

The parking garage could start construction as early as next summer and open in early 2017. During that time Student Parking will face government street. The New Garage and entrance/exit roads will allow for the property as a whole to begin full scale redevelopment. Exciting times in Mid City. 

Visualization of the project:

2uy679w.png

Note that the triangle like building is the parking garage while the straight shot buildings are new class rooms, library, and brothers house.

Edited by mr. bernham
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Just to give an update from CHS:

Last year CHS allowed for student parking in the entire Westmoreland area, I mean every inch that you could park in was filled. That is changing now, they are limiting Student Parking to the very back of the lot and a small area between the shopping center and CVS facing Government St. and a lot of rumors (with concrete basis) are swirling around that are talking about a two to three story student parking garage that would go where student parking is currently located. This garage would completely solve any parking issues a Westmoreland Expansion would bring. In addition to this the school will be constructing new classrooms to help feed the growing number of students...as a part of these plans a new Union is supposedly in the works. 

The parking garage could start construction as early as next summer and open in early 2017. During that time Student Parking will face government street. The New Garage and entrance/exit roads will allow for the property as a whole to begin full scale redevelopment. Exciting times in Mid City. 

Visualization of the project:

2uy679w.png

Note that the triangle like building is the parking garage while the straight shot buildings are new class rooms, library, and brothers house.

Parking Garages can always be added and most of Westlandmore  development will be in that big vacant green space. 

Edited by greg225
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Thanks for the interesting video!   Which option would you like to see implemented for Government Street?  There are some upset people in that area not wanting to see a road diet...

I'd like to see a trail run to see if it really works...the did the special experimental model block awhile back; but don't remember if it was a success?

I really like option 3, although it won't quite look the same on Government (no parked cars). The key for biking along Government Street is making it safe for people who aren't comfortable biking along a busy street. Eliminating as many curb cuts as possible, installing flexible delineators, using green paint and proper signage are all going to be really important. I would also try to plant trees in the suicide lane where possible. They've been shown to slow down traffic.

If it's not safe enough you're not going to attract new bikers, which is necessary for the whole thing to work.

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Parking Garages can always be added and most of Westlandmore  development will be in that big vacant green space. 

No it will not. The 'big vacant green space' is not vacant. It's used by the school as an additional field and will probably remain as such. You have to keep in mind that all of Westmoreland is owned by a high school, a high school that literally can not fit in their current buildings. They are tripling down on all rooms (even the band and choir rooms). New school facilities will always come before a mixed used redevelopment of Westmoreland. 

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No it will not. The 'big vacant green space' is not vacant. It's used by the school as an additional field and will probably remain as such. You have to keep in mind that all of Westmoreland is owned by a high school, a high school that literally can not fit in their current buildings. They are tripling down on all rooms (even the band and choir rooms). New school facilities will always come before a mixed used redevelopment of Westmoreland. 

http://www.wafb.com/story/29730019/westmoreland-shopping-center-ready-and-waiting-for-a-transformation

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That article doesn't prove your point whatsoever, it just reaffirms what we've been discussing for a while now. I'm not denying the area will be redeveloped, but given it is school property, the school will make sure the masterplan allows them to get the most use out of the area including the 'vacant green space' which again I note is used daily by the athletic department. 

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That article doesn't prove your point whatsoever, it just reaffirms what we've been discussing for a while now. I'm not denying the area will be redeveloped, but given it is school property, the school will make sure the masterplan allows them to get the most use out of the area including the 'vacant green space' which again I note is used daily by the athletic department. 

Its  in the video I know for fact it the green space at Westlandmore.

Mid City’s Simple Joe plans grand opening this weekend

 
 

Simple Joe Café and Confectionary, the first sit-down breakfast restaurant in the burgeoning Mid City area, plans a grand opening Sunday. The restaurant began serving customers with a soft opening last week.

Owner and chef Sean Braswell says the restaurant fills a need in the area since the only other breakfast options are fast-food joints.

“All the feedback I have been getting is a lot of thank yous,” Braswell says. “A lot of people seem to be happy I have brought this concept to Mid City.”

The restaurant sits in the Ogden Marketplace between Radio Bar and Time Warp Boutique on Government Street and boasts an a la carte menu featuring pancakes, French toast and other breakfast staples. The ’50s style interior beckons customers and themed tables make them feel at home.

Since its initial opening, the menu now features more healthy breakfast options, like homemade granola with yogurt and quinoa topped with fresh fruit, as well as a light lunch menu with sandwiches and salads.

Braswell says he used his first week in business to tweak the menu and listen to what customers liked and disliked. The healthy breakfast options and the light lunch menu are based on the feedback from the conversations Braswell has had with initial patrons.

The biggest hits so far are pancakes, shrimp and grits, the veggie omelet and the medium dark roast Sumatra blended specifically by River Road Coffees for Simple Joe, Braswell says.

The grand opening is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.    https://www.businessreport.com/article/mid-citys-simple-joe-plans-grand-opening-weekend

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That article doesn't prove your point whatsoever, it just reaffirms what we've been discussing for a while now. I'm not denying the area will be redeveloped, but given it is school property, the school will make sure the masterplan allows them to get the most use out of the area including the 'vacant green space' which again I note is used daily by the athletic department. 

"Tullier says the school will use the back portion of the land, but the remaining portion which fronts to Government Street will be developed according to their master plan."

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