(Editor’s Note: This story has been revised from an earlier version to reflect that the property was donated to the RDA in 2013 by Entergy. Daily Report regrets the error.)
Developers hope to begin construction in the next two weeks on their mixed-use development Electric Depot, which will be the new name for the old Entergy site at 1509 Government St. in Mid City.
Architect Dyke Nelson, who is leading the Weinstein Nelson development team that was selected last summer by the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority to redevelop the six-acre property, says his group is nearly ready to begin interior demolition work on the largest of the four red-brick buildings in the complex.
“We have to remove some nasty interior walls and do some other interior demolition before we can begin interior construction,” he says. “But this will officially count as our groundbreaking.”
Weinstein Nelson and its team of consultants, engineers and designers beat out eight other teams last May with its proposal to redevelop the site for the RDA, which has owned the property since receiving it in a 2013 donation from Entergy.
The RDA hopes the former Entergy site, which sat abandoned for years straddling the border of downtown and Mid City, will be a catalyst for redevelopment in the blighted neighborhood.
The Weinstein Nelson plan calls for a mix of uses for the site, including turning three of the four buildings into a blend of retail, offices and loft apartments. The developers also want to add housing around the buildings and provide a link to a possible train station for a commuter line between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, should that ever materialize.
The Planning Commission this month will consider a rezoning request for the site to allow for bars and nightclubs. The Metro Council zoning committee must still approve the changes.
Nelson says the group has had letters of intent with potential bar and restaurant tenants since before winning the bid last year, but is still not ready to disclose who those tenants are.
“Hopefully we’ll be making some announcements very soon,” he says.
In other recent developments, the property received approval from the National Park Service to be listed on the National Historic Register. The buildings on the site are nearly 100 years old, and part of Weinstein Nelson’s financing package will include using money raised from selling state and federal historic building tax credits to investors.
The developers are also using conventional bank financing, as well as private capital, to finance the project, which is estimated to cost more than $10 million.
“It’s going really well,” Nelson says. “It’s going to be pretty bad ass.”