Magpie Café becomes first commercial tenant for downtown Commerce Building

    Magpie Café will open a second location next spring in the downtown Commerce Building, making it the first commercial tenant announced for the former office building that’s being redeveloped for residential, retail and commercial use.

    “That area is really coming together,” says James Jacobs, who owns Magpie Café with his wife, Lina Jacobs, of the Commerce Building and downtown Baton Rouge. “It’s just really a very emerging area in Baton Rouge, and it just fits us and what we’re about (with) the coffee culture, the local foods.”

    The couple opened Magpie Café at 3205 Perkins Road in the former Perkins Road Parlour space near the overpass more than three years ago. The menu centers on local and seasonal ingredients filling soups, salads, sandwiches and breakfast offerings coupled with high-quality coffee and espresso. James Jacobs says the Commerce Building location will feature a similar menu to the original location, but will have some new additions that will be announced as the calendar inches closer to the opening date.

    “We are very excited that Magpie Café has chosen the Commerce Building as their second location and feel that they are a perfect fit for the building and will be a great amenity for our future tenants in addition to the general downtown area,” says Michael Lang, director of real estate development for Key Real Estate Company, in a prepared statement.

    The road to today’s announcement began several months ago when real estate agents with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate approached the couple to gauge their interest in opening a second location in the downtown development.

    “We’ve had our eye on expanding while, and this one really came together for us,” James Jacobs says.

    Developer TJ Iarocci, CEO of Key Real Estate Company, says renovations are about 65% percent complete in the building located at the corner of Laurel and North Third streets and they are shooting for a February or March completion date.

    The 2,900-square-foot location for Magpie Café in the Commerce Building is one of three commercial spaces on the first floor to go along with the 93 residential units throughout the rest of the property. The other two commercial spaces, at 2,276 and 700 square feet, are still available, as is the 4,000-square-foot rooftop location that will hold a restaurant.

    “We don’t have a restaurant concept yet, but we’re starting to market the rooftop and it’ll be similar to Tsunami in terms of river view and seating,” Iarocci says.

    Lang says they are negotiating a lease with someone for the smaller of the two open commercial spaces, but nothing is official.

    In addition to announcing the second location, James Jacobs says they are going to open the Perkins Road location a for a few hours each Sunday after repeated customer requests. The restaurant will offer quiches, baked goods and some breakfast items, but the kitchen will not be open, he says.

    —Ryan Broussard

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