The Mentorship Academy charter schools plan to open a store in the former Regions Bank building downtown. The schools’ leader, Brian Dixon, says the “school-based enterprise,” possibly a sidewalk café or a convenience store, could fill a need downtown and give students business experience. Officials are taking suggestions for the type of business at mentorshipstore.com. Charter Schools Development Corporation recently purchased the building on Florida Street from Bob Dean for $3.2 million. The Mentorship Academy of Science and Technology and the Mentorship Academy of Digital Media and Art have been operating out of the building since July. CSDC, a nonprofit group, provides financial services for schools to allow them to lease or purchase facilities. The application deadline for new Mentorship students is April 21; the school already has 242 applicants for 250 openings, and so expects to hold a lottery for next year.
Also at today’s Downtown Development District meeting, DDD Director Davis Rhorer and East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority Vice President Mark Goodson expressed support for a tax increment financing district for the proposed Hampton Inn & Suites on Lafayette Street. The hotel would add rooms downtown, which officials say would help the city land more conventions and events, and the TIF is an important part of the financing, supporters say. A discussion about the TIF is slated for tomorrow’s Metro Council meeting. —David Jacobs