John Engquist to build mixed-use development on Woman’s Hospital property

    Editor’s note: This story has been updated from an earlier version to include comments from Woman’s Hospital.

    Developer John Engquist has filed final development plans for the first phase of a mixed-use development on 86 acres of Airline Highway property owned by and adjacent to Woman’s Hospital.

    The development, to be called Materra, will eventually include low- and medium-density housing, a multifamily complex, hotel, restaurants and commercial retail space, according to a general concept plan filed for the development several years ago.

    For now, though, Enquist is concentrating on Materra’s 32-acre first phase. According to the final development plan, filed earlier today with the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission, phase one will consist of 124 low-density single-family houses and 17 medium-density units with some 300 parking spaces.

    When Woman’s Hospital acquired the 225-acre property on the site of the former Briarwood Golf Course for its new hospital in the mid-2000s, hospital officials indicated they would eventually like to develop the excess property into some sort of mixed-use development. The hospital teamed with Engquist on the deal several months ago.

    Engquist, chairman and CEO of the publicly traded heavy equipment company H&E, has become active in the development of mixed-use properties in recent years, and counts Rouzan and Americana among his local projects at the moment.

    Materra, giving its location and unique relationships with Woman’s Hospital, represents a particularly good opportunity, he says.

    “It’s a fabulous piece of property, number one, and then you put Woman’s Hospital in there, which is so ingrained with the fabric of Baton Rouge,” he says. “It’s going to be a real cool development with great walkability.”

    With the development of Materra, Woman’s will be a destination that provides opportunities for living, socializing, working, and shopping, CEO Teri Fontenot says, adding “Our partner, John Engquist, has a proven track record of success, and we are excited about Materra becoming a paradigm for healthy, active living in our community.”were not available for comment in time for today’s publication.

    The Planning Commission will take up the development at its June meeting.

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