LSU's Nicholson Drive redevelopment plan includes housing, office and retail

LSU's Nicholson Drive redevelopment plan includes housing, office and retail

A proposed master plan for a $140 million to $200 million redevelopment of LSU's married student housing and the old Alex Box Stadium site has been submitted to the LSU Board of Supervisors for possible inclusion on the Feb. 1 agenda. If the plan is approved, LSU will have to decide whether to develop and manage the project itself or partner with a private developer or foundation.

"We know it has great potential for a public-private partnership," says Steve Waller, director of LSU's Department of Residential Life.

While the details could change, about 1,200 housing units are envisioned, mostly for students, although 89 units could be offered at market rates to LSU faculty and staff. The master plan also includes about 130,000 square feet of retail and about 110,000 square feet of offices.

"We're looking at basically a mixed-use center that would be pretty much on top of the old Alex Box site that would have retail on the first floor with a plaza, and then housing above," Waller says.

Three residential-only buildings with surface parking could be built north of the old Alex Box site. The plan allows for the possibility of a streetcar line, in part by widening the Nicholson Drive median. The work could begin in 2014, with completion possible by 2017 or 2018.

"We have to do a phased plan," Waller says. "Obviously, we're taking down housing that's occupied. We can't go in and displace all 850 folks that live there. … Potentially [in], 2015, 2016, we could see the mixed-use and the first housing come online."

The plan was created after public meetings and stakeholder interviews with help from AECOM, an international design, engineering and program management firm. While the plan has not yet been made publicly available, Waller expects to post it online soon, assuming it is placed on the LSU Board of Supervisor's agenda.

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