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Real Estate Weekly Report

Developer of speculative office park on Coursey sells first two buildings, plans more

The recent sale of a pair of 3,000-square-foot office buildings in Market Plaza Office Park—located just off Coursey Boulevard, between Airline Highway and South Sherwood Forest Boulevard—is a signal that speculative projects in the Baton Rouge market are once again viable, says Chris Pike of Mike Falgoust and Associates. "The thing about this park is not just that there are leases being signed and buildings being sold. You have a developer that's building these 100% speculatively, which is something we haven't seen in about six years," say Pike, who recently brokered the sale of the two offices, which collectively sold for $675,000. The bank and developer behind the office park are Investar Bank and Destiny Interests LLC, respectively. In addition to the sale of the first two office buildings last month to Coursey Condos LLC—a cash-flow investor that Pike represents—Destiny Interests is building a 3,500-square-foot office building in the park; that third building should be complete by March. Several potential buyers have expressed interest, Pike says, but nothing is defined at this point. After the third building is complete, Destiny Interests will start on two additional buildings, each 2,500 square feet. "They're willing to step out on this and say, 'We think it's good enough that we'll build it,' " Pike says. "To me, that's a good sign that confidence is coming back on the part of the developer." —Rachel Alexander

Maison Victoria on Perkins Road closing after 15 years

Maison Victoria, a French and British colonial antique shop on Perkins Road near Siegen Lane, will be closing March 16 after 15 years of doing business, says Norm Weizer, the liquidator. The owners, Susan and David Basu, are retiring and selling all merchandise and assets. The couple operates Maison Victoria out of the 20,000-square-foot space in the shopping center next to St. George Fire Department Station 61. The space consists of a 7,000-square-foot, two-story store in the front and a 13,000-square-foot warehouse in the back, both of which the Basus lease. A new tenant is lined up to succeed Maison Victoria in the space, says Susan Basu, but she was not at liberty to release the tenant's name. —Rachel Alexander

'Real Estate Weekly' to become part of Tuesday 'Daily Report'

Business Report executive editor David Dodson announced today that beginning in the new year, the content of the Real Estate Weekly e-newsletter will become part of the publication's Daily Report online news service and featured every Tuesday at 3:30 PM. Previously, the two e-newsletters remained separate in the desktop versions, but the new mobile platforms (smartphone and iPad), launched in October, had already combined the Real Estate Weekly news with Daily Report stories. "Loyal readers of Real Estate Weekly will still get the full menu of important real estate developments each week, only now as part of Daily Report PM on Tuesday afternoons," says Dodson. "And of course, we will continue to have popular columnists Tom Cook and Brian Andrews sharing their news and insights. Now they'll reach an even wider audience." Dodson added that while most readers of Real Estate Weekly are already subscribers to Daily Report, those who are not may sign up for free to get the daily e-newsletter by clicking here.

Cook: Pinnacle Warehousing purchases Airline Highway site for $1.8M

Pinnacle Warehousing LLC has purchased a site comprising about 7.75 developable acres on Airline Highway, adjoining Bayou Manchac, from Airline-Manchac LLC for $1.8 million, or about $5.40 per square foot. Brent Garrett with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, who brokered the transaction, says the property is part of a planned unit development whose developers recently sold a 12-acre site to Area Tire Distributers, which is building a 125,000-square-foot warehouse distribution facility on-site. This purchase by Pinnacle will allow for an additional 80,000 square feet of space to be developed along the Airline Highway frontage. According to Garrett, Pinnacle has a build-to-suit contract for a portion of the potential 80,000 square feet but does not yet want to reveal who the tenant will be. Construction on the new warehouse distribution facility should begin early next year.

(Appraiser Tom Cook owns Cook Moore and Associates. Reach him at 293-7006 or [email protected].)

Andrews: A look at new debt-to-income restrictions taking effect in 2014

As part of the new rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, which go into effect Jan. 1, lenders intending to make a Qualified Mortgage will have to deal with new regulations concerning how much of a borrower's income can go toward total debt. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, "QMs will generally require that the borrower's monthly debt, including the mortgage, isn't more than 43% of the borrower's monthly pre-tax income." The goal is to assist consumers in avoiding taking on too much debt when they buy a house or refinance a mortgage. While the overall intent of the rules sounds great, some industry professionals are concerned with the unintended negative consequences to certain borrowers. Kenny Hodges, managing partner of Assurance Financial, a mortgage banker specializing in residential home loans, says that many lower-income borrowers who live within their means commonly hit or exceed that threshold, and the new rules could force these borrowers to go to lenders offering non-QM loans where the rates and down payment requirements will be higher. Hodges is likewise concerned that self-employed borrowers "who have a substantial down payment, perfect credit, but struggle to show satisfactory income on paper will be challenged to obtain the best loan terms and/or be forced into the non-QM space." Hodges' final concern is with high-income borrowers who have a heavy debt load in scenarios in which they exceed the 43% ratio but have strong residual income. "This residual income will not be taken into account and could also force these borrowers to go to lenders offering non-QM loans," Hodges notes. None of this is to say that the new rules are necessarily bad, but prospective borrowers should be aware of them and speak with a lending professional sooner than later to see how they may be affected.

(Brian Andrews is assistant director of the Real Estate Research Institute at LSU's E. J. Ourso College of Business. His business is Andrews Commercial Real Estate Services, and he can be reached at [email protected].)

Real estate recap: Wampold buys land in Perkins Rowe from Terry Saban ... Walk-On's to open Towne Center restaurant ... KeyBank no longer involved in Perkins Rowe; sale could come soon

Done deal: Nick Saban's wife, Terry, has sold a 1.8-acre tract she owned at Perkins Rowe to developer Mike Wampold, who says the parcel is ideal for a hotel or additional retail development. "This parcel is right up front, between Orvis and The NeuroMedical Center on Park Rowe," Wampold tells Daily Report. "It's the first thing you come to, so whatever we put there, the location is triple A." Wampold acquired the parcel for $1.1 million in a deal that closed Thursday. Read the full story.

Walking in: Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar has announced plans to open a new location at Towne Center in the space previously occupied by Mugshots Grill & Bar, which closed in early November. The latest Walk-On's—which will be the fifth location for the sports bar and restaurant chain overall and its third in Baton Rouge—will feature a slightly new design concept, with an outdoor beer garden, more than 80 TVs, and custom table beer taps that allow guests to serve themselves. Walk-On's co-founder Brandon Landry tells Daily Report the 8,500-square-foot space in Towne Center is a desirable location for several reasons: It fits with the restaurant's target demographic, it is easily accessible from all over the city, and there are no other sports bar/restaurants in the area. Read the full story.

End of the line: KeyBank National Association, the Ohio bank that for years was the main lender on the Perkins Rowe project—and plaintiff of record in the foreclosure lawsuit against developer Tommy Spinosa—has sold its remaining interest in the development to Istrouma Agent Inc., a Delaware entity that was incorporated in November. In documents filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court, KeyBank officially asks the court to relieve it as agent and plaintiff in the long-running litigation. Though that litigation was mostly settled last August—when KeyBank and co-lender Barclays bought back the mixed-use development in a courthouse foreclosure sale—several unresolved legal issues remain. The banks also have yet to sell the development to a third party, as had been expected. Daily Report has the full story.

This week's poll question: Do you plan to buy or sell a home in the Capital Region in 2014?

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  • Do you plan to buy or sell a home in the Capital Region in 2014?
  • Yes, I plan to buy.
  • 11%
  • Yes, I plan to sell.
  • 7%
  • Yes, I plan to buy and sell.
  • 8%
  • No.
  • 74%
  • Total Votes: 122