Developers Brian Dantin and Ross Bruce, principals of Dantin Bruce Development, have acquired two parcels totaling 15 acres in the heart of the nascent Baton Rouge Health District and plan to gradually develop the property into retail, residential and office space.
In a deal that closed Monday, DB Midway LLC, which is owned by Dantin and Bruce, acquired adjacent 7.1-acre and 7.9-acre tracts from the heirs of Nick Messina for a total of $3.7 million. The Messina family had owned the undeveloped property for years.
Bill Jeansonne of Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate represented the seller in the transaction. The buyers represented themselves.
The 15-acre property is located between Interstate 10 and Picardy Avenue and is adjacent to property owned by Baton Rouge General Hospital. Part of the property is also adjacent to Our Lady of the Lake’s planned 350,000-square-foot Children’s Hospital, which is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2018.
“These are two great pieces of land in the heart of the Baton Rouge Health District,” says Brian Dantin. “We felt with all the infrastructure going in and the new roads—and obviously the new hospital—that this was a good piece of real estate.”
The city-parish has plans to develop three key roadways through the area, which will increase access to the Dantin Bruce property and improve connectivity throughout the medical corridor. Dijon Drive will be extended from Essen Lane to Bluebonnet Boulevard, traversing the Dantin Bruce property. A new Midway Road will be constructed, running from an intersection with Dijon south, crossing Summa Avenue and continuing to Picardy Avenue. Mancuso Lane will also be extended from Summa to Dijon.
Dantin says plans for the property have not been finalized but several potential site plans for mixed-use buildings are in the works. None of the construction will be speculative. Rather, Dantin Bruce will build to suit.
“We are going to do multiple different layouts and site plans and see what comes to us,” Dantin says. “There are many uses that work with this property. This health district area is going to be a hot spot for all our potential uses, so we will do a couple of different site plans and see which one will be the best fit.”
The health district project will be the latest of several for Dantin Bruce. The developers are currently completing a 60,000-square-foot office park on Jefferson Highway, City Farm. They are also developing three other residential projects, including the upscale Valhalla subdivision on Highland Road near Pecue Lane, and the Copper Mill Office Park.
“Baton Rouge is a healthy market,” he says. “It’s a good market for us right now.”