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‘We don’t go into business to lose money’: Commercial Properties Realty Trust’s new investment strategy

Sparked by the recent foreclosure sale of the Bon Carré Business Center, the new Business Report cover story takes a detailed look at the financial performance of Commercial Properties Realty Trust, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s for-profit real estate company, which defaulted on the center’s $36 million mortgage.

The story, by editor and writer Stephanie Riegel, examines how Commercial Properties was hit hard by the Great Recession and the timing of its investment in a Traditional Neighborhood Development in North Carolina, which not only prompted some $40 million in asset write-downs but also saw on-paper assets of The Wilbur Marvin Foundation decline 84%, leading to a significant reduction in the amount of money Commercial Properties was able to spin off to BRAF.

What’s also true, whether by choice or as an effort to rebuild its portfolio, is Commercial Properties is moving in a new direction.

CPRT has sold most of its founding assets—primarily strip shopping centers—and is betting its future on local public-private partnerships, like the IBM building and the Water Campus, and a more diverse, and likely out-of-state, blend of investment grade assets—mixed-use projects, apartment complexes, office buildings and specialized retail. If successful, the evolution will generate the dollars necessary to help BRAF fund its various community initiatives.

In reporting on the story, Business Report analyzed more than a decade of 990 tax returns filed by The Wilbur Marvin Foundation and studied the audited financial statements of BRAF that were available online.

The cover package also details how three Baton Rouge business leaders eased CPRT’s navigation of the recession’s storm and explores the financial downs and ups of the real estate company’s 5401 North development in North Carolina. Click here to read the cover package and to see how the pay of BRAF CEO John Davies stacks up against the salaries of other community foundation CEOs across the country.

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