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steve3n8

Ardendale Development (formerly known as Smiley Heights)

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Plans changing for Smiley Heights development

Baton Rouge Community College never obtained funding for a new allied health classroom building at the planned Smiley Heights development in Mid City. But East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority CEO Walter Monsour says plans for an automotive technology center supported by a public-private partnership could help convince the state to invest in the project next year. Former BRCC Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey had assured the Redevelopment Authority, which is leading the project, and other stakeholders that money for the allied health building was available, Monsour says. But while funding was approved by the Board of Regents, the money never made it into the state appropriations bill. The automotive training center, originally planned as the second piece of BRCC’s contribution to the Smiley Heights development, could be built as a cooperative effort between the state, the authority and the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association. Automobile dealers throughout the state could send apprentice mechanics for training, giving the project broader appeal than a classroom building for BRCC students. Monsour suggests legislators and Gov. Bobby Jindal might be more amenable to a project with private-sector support. There isn’t an estimated price tag for the project yet; Monsour says officials plan to visit the automotive technology complex at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, before deciding what they will propose for Baton Rouge. As envisioned, the Smiley Heights development will include BRCC and The Career Academy high school, along with housing and retail. Monsour expects to solicit proposals from developers for the site.

Bussinessreport.com

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I won't even try anymore. Steve, you're taking all my shine!

Are there any plans or documents for this development?

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I won't even try anymore. Steve, you're taking all my shine!

Are there any plans or documents for this development?

Haha. Funny!!! I cant seem to find anything on it. I will try to dig something up and post it if i can. :thumbsup:

http://neighborhoodplan.org/pdf/BR_FinalBooklet_5_26_06.pdf

^This site here is the only thing i could find on the Smiley Heights development, hopefully there will be more renderings soon...

Edited by steve3n8

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I searched and found nothing. That presentation was nice, makes the development appear very lucrative. Although I don't know how it will fare as far as selling points and safety being so close to Mall City. This type of neighborhood would be very nice for the River District and West Mid-City areas, also the area just east of Spanish Town.

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Nice find...this had been discussed a while back in New Urbanism thread when it was called "Arden"....thought this huge infil development may have missed it's chance after the post-Katrina housing boom...but maybe this still has a chance with an anchor like an east campus for BRCC....there was a side article about this in Advocate I fail;ed to post...

Interesting one of the proposals had Ardenwood Drive being re-configured into a village square

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Smiley Heights deal to be signed in 2012

The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority expects to complete a deal next month to purchase the land for Smiley Heights, a 200-acre development just north of Florida Boulevard anchored by the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board’s new charter school and Baton Rouge Community College’s east campus.

Project manager Susan Ludwig told the RDA’s board Thursday that a $1.96 million purchase agreement with the land’s 11 owners e_SEmD mainly nonprofits e_SEmD should be signed by Jan. 31. The property for the long-planned project is between Ardenwood and Lobdell, just south of Greenwell Springs Road.

The Louisiana Technical College System plans to build a $26 million, 75,000-square-foot automotive training center run by BRCC in the development’s 8-acre first phase, with $10 million in automobiles donated from the local industry.

RDA board Chairman John Noland praised the training center, noting it gets to the heart of a state study several years ago that found that Louisiana couldn’t fill 100,000 jobs because it lacked trained, qualified workers, with “auto mechanic” among the jobs at the top of the list. He pointed out that people who completed the course could find work in a business that pays well enough to support a family.

The School Board’s $18 million charter school, which is on about 10 acres, will open with enrollment of about 400 students and quickly make its way to 1,000.

It will focus on workforce development in digital media and culinary arts, among other subjects.

These two anchors are expected to spur development of homes and apartments, as well as retail and other commercial development throughout Smiley Heights, lifting the fortunes of that area just north of Midcity.

In other business:

 The RDA approved an amended budget for 2011, with no notable deviations, and a budget for 2012. The RDA will have $1.5 million in total revenue and $1.3 million in operational expenditures, including salaries, legal and professional fees, rent and utilities, with an ending balance of $1.6 million.

RDA Vice President Mark Goodson said the ending balance will come almost entirely from fees the RDA collects from allocating new market tax credits to projects that have included the YMCA at Howell Place and the Hampton Inn and Suites downtown.

Its programs, which are accounted for separately by state law, include $236,000 for the neighborhood stabilization program; $1.7 million for gap financing, façade improvement and landbanking efforts; and $3.3 million to finish out community development block grants the RDA got from the federal government after hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Goodson pointed out that 2012 will mark the end of the grants that have funded these programs and that the RDA will likely have to look into possible sources of permanent, ongoing funding. Even the fees from the new market tax credits depend on annual allocations that will not necessarily always be there, he said, noting many of the country’s largest and most successful redevelopment authorities have permanent funding.

 James Anderman discussed the RDA’s efforts to take tax-delinquent properties off the hands of the city-parish and put them back into commerce. He said the Metro Council last month gave the RDA control over 11 new properties, eight around the Lincoln Theater – the redevelopment of which is an ongoing project the RDA is involved in – and three in Scotlandville, an RDA target area.

The RDA to date has sold eight properties for the cost of clearing title, seven of them to Habitat for Humanity.

Anderman said there are 121 properties, in addition to the 11 transferred last month, that the RDA hopes to have clear title on by the end of next year.

Anderman told the board that, at this point, it takes an average of $5,000 per property to clear title, most of which comes from legal fees. Once they are in the possession of the RDA, it costs $740 a year per parcel to keep properties up before they are put back into commerce.

President Walter Monsour told the board the RDA recently turned down inquiries from property owners who wanted to hold onto land because it was next to their homes.

He said the purpose is to put properties back into commerce and, unless they go to a church, on the tax rolls. The properties are not for individuals “to speculate on or hold as their own,” he said.

Anderman said that one of the eight properties that didn’t go to Habitat did go to an individual, though that individual had committed to putting improvements on the property, increasing its value on the tax rolls.

http://theadvocate.com/news/1576222-123/smiley-heights-deal-to-be.html

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RDA completes purchase of 198 acres for Smiley Heights

Roughly one year after the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority began working with 11 nonprofits to purchase land from them for the proposed Smiley Heights development in Mid City, the authority closed Tuesday on 198 acres for $1.96 million. "It was extremely difficult, as you might imagine, just to acquire the property, considering there were 11 different owners and five different tracts that make up those 200 acres," says Walter Monsour, redevelopment authority president and CEO. "The property owners had to be very cooperative on a number of fronts, and fortunately for us, all of them were excited about our vision for the property." The vision certainly is ambitious. Described as an "urban traditional neighborhood development," Smiley Heights is a mix of education institutions—in partnership with Baton Rouge Community College and the local school district—as well as retail, commercial and residential developments. Eighty-six of the acres are to be preserved as wetlands, with trails for hiking and biking. With the land in hand, Monsour says the redevelopment authority will now begin looking for a master developer for the project. "We will begin working on a request for proposals for a master developer to see how the developers of the world would come in and take our vision and build out the whole property," he says. "I would say we're looking at six to nine months to develop the RFP, get [proposals] returned, evaluate them and begin negotiations."

Businessreport.com

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Big step in the right direction!!! Critical infil at one of the city's largest remaining undeveloped areas...

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Yay! Hopefully the crime element from Mall City doesn't spill over.

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Big step in the right direction!!! Critical infil at one of the city's largest remaining undeveloped areas...

I don't want to sound negative, but there is no way this is going to work. One of the reasons they were able to obtain the land easily is because most of the sellers want out.

That piece of land should be zoned for industrial or distribution/warehouse use.....being close to the intersection of Florida and Airline.

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Smiley Heights planning funds in budget supplement

While recently breaking up and approving items within Mayor Kip Holden's $11.1 million budget supplement, the Metro Council voted to approve $200,000 for the planning of Smiley Heights, marking some of the first dollars appropriated for implementing the FuturEBR master plan for land use and development. For Smiley Heights—a mixed-use development including education, retail, residential and commercial components in the Melrose East community, where Greenwell Springs Road and Ardenwood Drive intersect—$55,000 is allocated for consultant fees for wetland mitigation, and $45,000 is allocated for consultant fees for planning a new charter school and site of Baton Rouge Community College. The remaining $100,000 is allocated for implementing the rest of the Mid City Urban Renewal District, including finalizing district boundaries and securing revenue sources.

The city-parish envisions that Smiley Heights—a part of the urban renewal district—will encompass 3,500 new households and create 20,000 new jobs by 2030. The development would occupy 196 acres of land that is currently vacant. "The vision, really, is to create an urban village," says John Price, Mayor Kip Holden's assistant chief administration officer. "It's going to have community development, mixed-use housing, and education for an area that's been underserved for a number of years." Initial seed money, Price says, is expected to drive private investment in the area. The $11.1 million budget supplement is funded through surplus funds, including sales tax collections and savings. It will mainly be used to start a police academy on July 30 and get 30 new police officers on city streets, but will also help fund the hiring of 35 new firefighters and supply extra support for the sheriff's and coroner's offices

http://www.businessreport.com/section/daily-reportAM

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I don't want to sound negative, but there is no way this is going to work.

Damn, just no way? That's a little absolute, don't you think? Explain in detail why you think that is? I mean the same could have been said about Bon Marche mall and look what resulted there.

That piece of land should be zoned for industrial or distribution/warehouse use.....being close to the intersection of Florida and Airline.

Therefore killing any potential for that area to develop/redevelop into something decent. Don't we already have an industrial/distribution area in Southeast BR around Siegen/Industrialplex/upperHighland? I think its just upright callous to write this area off as if it is not possible to have decent or groundbreaking type of development in this part of Baton Rouge that we need to just make the area zoned for a bunch of ugly, bland warehouses just to further solidify how people view this part of Baton Rouge -- as a dumping ground.

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Damn, just no way? That's a little absolute, don't you think? Explain in detail why you think that is? I mean the same could have been said about Bon Marche mall and look what resulted there.

The average income in the area is very low, unemployment is very high, the crime rate is high, school dropout rate is high, and there is already an abundance of available retail space available near Cortana and along Airline and Florida.

To make matters worse, that tract is one of the last wetlands area intact within BR and it is on the radar of some environmental groups.

Lots of hurdles to overcome especially during a recession. Sorry if you find reality callous...but beyond the educational component, Smiley Heights provides nothing that is in demand. At best, you might see low quality subsidized housing.

Edited by cajun

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Damn, just no way? That's a little absolute, don't you think? Explain in detail why you think that is? I mean the same could have been said about Bon Marche mall and look what resulted there.

Putting something new and nice in a bad part of town isn't going to reduce crime. It's just going to give criminals a new target.

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Putting something new and nice in a bad part of town isn't going to reduce crime. It's just going to give criminals a new target.

He did not mention crime.

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I used to live on Afton Pky in Melrose subdivision (which is an under-rated area, BTW) about 12 years ago.

There was not very much crime in that particular neighborhood other than minor property crime.....but the entire area around nearby Mall City is very rough. Violent crime was common east of Ardenwood in the area near the business park and the Baton Rouge theater.

Antrell, are you saying crime doesn't occur in the Smiley Heights area? Is crime not a valid concern when choosing a site for your home or business?

Edited by cajun

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Is it not proven that investment can increase quality of life?

If I invest in a garbage dump next to your house, will your quality of life change the same way as if you and your neighbors invest in additions or renovations to your homes? What about if a company invests in a call center or small manufacturing or warehousing center in your area?

If any investment is so good, why do NIMBYs exist?

From the investors side....there are good and bad investments. The residential and commercial aspects of this will not be a good investment without major government subsidies. The neighborhood around it can't support the retail and residential space that currently exist.

That neighborhood needs low and high skill jobs. It doesn't need a failed real estate project or an abundance of subsidized housing. I wil hope for the best, but there are fundamental flaws here.....and that's if they get past the environmental concerns.

Edited by cajun

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If I invest in a garbage dump next to your house, will your quality of life change the same way as if you and your neighbors invest in additions or renovations to your homes? What about if a company invests in a call center or small manufacturing or warehousing center in your area?

If any investment is so good, why do NIMBYs exist?

From the investors side....there are good and bad investments. The residential and commercial aspects of this will not be a good investment without major government subsidies. The neighborhood around it can't support the retail and residential space that currently exist.

That neighborhood needs low and high skill jobs. It doesn't need a failed real estate project or an abundance of subsidized housing. I wil hope for the best, but there are fundamental flaws here.....and that's if they get past the environmental concerns.

You sort of lost me with the first analogy.

NIMBY's exist for their own personal interests.

The neighborhood around it can't support the amount of retail yet. Although I wouldn't say the area doesn't need new housing, a school, and investment. Or at least someone willing to invest in that area.

I agree with too many subsidized units though. The area doesn't need better jobs, the people living there need better job opportunities and that doens't start in a neighborhood.

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All of this goes well beyond jobs. There is a serious defect in these neighborhoods. What good is it to build something new that's just going to be ruined as soon as it's built. People, IMO, need to dig deeper to ask "why" these run down neighborhoods need this and how to improve the quality of life without governmental assistance.

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All of this goes well beyond jobs. There is a serious defect in these neighborhoods. What good is it to build something new that's just going to be ruined as soon as it's built. People, IMO, need to dig deeper to ask "why" these run down neighborhoods need this and how to improve the quality of life without governmental assistance.

Sort of like attacking the symptoms instead of the cold.

There is (or was) an educational component and it sounds like the land owners successfully sold their land to the redevelopment authority. Good for the previous owners.

The original plans seem to be evolving into a primarily educational/institutional. The retail/residential component is what I'm concerned with, and is the more delicate part of the project.

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All of this goes well beyond jobs. There is a serious defect in these neighborhoods. What good is it to build something new that's just going to be ruined as soon as it's built. People, IMO, need to dig deeper to ask "why" these run down neighborhoods need this and how to improve the quality of life without governmental assistance.

The defect does in fact stem from job opportunities. You don't think jobs would improve the quality of life? It would diminish the need for government subsidies and some crimes.

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