Collaborative workspaces, apartments coming to Water Campus

The Water Campus, the large mixed-use development on the Mississippi River that is nearing completion of its $60 million first phase, will soon be home to collaborative workspaces and an apartment building featuring 20 “loft-style” units.

The long-planned campus started coming together last year when the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority moved into its office building.

The CPRA is also overseeing the building of LSU’s Center for River Studies facility next door to CPRA’s office. CPRA spokesman Chuck Perrodin says researchers will likely be in the new center, featuring a 10,800-square-foot state-of-the-art model of the Mississippi River, in a couple months.

That center will likely be open to tours sometime next year, he adds.

The keystone structure for the Water Campus is the 35,000-square-foot Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions that sits upon a dock over the river. That building will be completed in December, says CPRT spokeswoman Tina Rance, when the Water Institute for the Gulf will move into its new offices on the building’s second floor.

In January, CPRT’s WaterWorking, a collaborative workspace that will be available to professionals looking for temporary offices, will open on that building’s first floor. The concept will be similar to the New York-based WeWork shared office concept that has spread to dozens of cities.

Rance declined to offer details about rates, but says CPRT will offer monthly memberships and some permanent spaces to professionals involved with water research as well as other business people who need temporary office space downtown.

“Baton Rouge is just on the cusp of these shared co-working spaces,” Rance says. “We’ve gotten some great response on (WaterWorking) just telling people about it.”

A few months after that, work will begin on a four-story apartment building that will offer 20 “loft-style” units, Rance says, as well as a large office center that will be home to several tenants. Around the same time, a large conference and event space on the third floor of the Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions will open.

The apartment and office will take around 18 months to build, Rance says. Also scheduled for construction is the first of three parks on the campus that will be connected by a water feature simulating a river.

Construction of Water Street, the campus’ main road that will go from River Road to Nicholson Drive, will begin soon, Rance says.

—Sam Karlin

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