Now that the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Board of Control is officially recommending the Metro Council end its agreement with developer Tommy Spinosa for a new library branch in the center of Rouzan, some aspects of the mixed-use development off Perkins Road are uncertain. While the traditional neighborhood development may suffer some setbacks if the cooperative agreement for the land—which was initially inked in 2010—is killed by the council, most local real estate experts believe Rouzan will be just fine without the library branch.
Perhaps the biggest loss for Rouzan if the deal goes sour is the infrastructure the library would have provided the development. As Mark Hebert of Kurz & Hebert Commercial Real Estate notes, “If you don’t have the infrastructure in to develop the property, [the land’s] definitely not worth as much as you think it might be.”
Still, Hebert notes Rouzan is situated along one of the most desirable corridors for commercial development in Baton Rouge and says he doesn’t think the library branch is a make-or-break aspect of the development.
“You know, a library is an amenity to a local community. It can be either there or down the street,” he says. “As long as it’s convenient to people … this is a driving community.”
Donnie Jarreau agrees, saying he doesn’t think the library board’s decision will make Rouzan any less attractive to prospective tenants.
“I think you’ve still got one of the better-located sites in south Baton Rouge in that Perkins-College corridor,” says the owner of Donnie Jarreau Real Estate, “so it’s still a great site.”
Camm Morton,owner and principal at VR Business Sales Mergers and Acquisitions, says the high traffic count along Perkins Road, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods’ demographics and other new developments at Perkins Road and South Acadian Thruway all benefit Rouzan—even without a library.
A spokesman for Spinosa previously told Daily Report that the developer is exploring other options for the land that was set aside for the library but could not provide specifics.