Long-planned Park Rowe Apartments finally taking shape as market tightens

Nearly four years after Shreveport-based Vintage Realty acquired a 20-acre tract adjacent to Perkins Rowe with plans to develop a multifamily complex, the Park Rowe Apartments, as the project will be called, is beginning to take shape. Developer David Alexander says he plans to start preleasing units by the end of the year.

The complex will consist of 336 units in multiple buildings—four large buildings and five smaller “cottage-style” structures. The first of those buildings, containing 50 units, is scheduled for completion by March or April of 2018.

The Park Rowe Apartments will consist mostly of one- and two-bedroom units ranging in size from between 800 and 1,400 square feet. A few three-bedroom units and studio lofts will also be available.

Alexander says he hasn’t yet set lease rates for the units, billed as “upscale/luxury,” but adds they’ll be comparable with other new, class-A properties in the market.

Monthly lease rates for upscale apartments vary widely in the Baton Rouge area, according to Wesley Moore, an appraiser with Cook Moore & Associates. They can be as high as $1.65 per-square-foot but more commonly run between $1.35 and $1.40 per-square-foot.

The Baton Rouge market for multifamily complexes has changed considerably since Vintage Realty acquired the tract in November 2013 for $6.5 million from one of the original lenders on the Perkins Rowe project. Some 50 new apartment complexes have been completed since then, adding thousands of units to the market.

Nearly 3,000 additional new units in the “upscale/luxury” category alone are currently under construction or have recently been completed, including Park Rowe, Bayonne at Southshore near the LSU Lake, Tapestry Park on Jefferson Highway near Bocage, and Lofts at 6C downtown.

Acknowledging the competitive pressures, Alexander says he doesn’t believe the multifamily sector is overbuilt—at least not along the bustling Bluebonnet Boulevard commercial corridor.

“I know there is concern about the student housing market being overbuilt,” he says. “But we feel confident that being in Perkins Rowe with the amenities, restaurants and medical facilities; that’s a good source for our residents and we’re delivering a good product.”

Moore is more cautious in his assessment.

“To me, it’s inevitable that the bubble is going to burst,” he says. “That said, I can’t tell you I have seen any evidence of it yet.”

—Stephanie Riegel

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