Newsmaker of the Week: Howell Village

    Howell Place, the north Baton Rouge mixed-use commercial park near the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, will welcome a 380-unit senior living and multifamily complex in the coming years, augmenting a revitalization local officials have planned for the economically underserved area.

    Tennessee-based developer Gary Gibbs is spearheading the $44 million Howell Village at Howell Boulevard project, which he hopes to complete by 2019. Gibbs bought the land several years ago, and will begin work in the spring.

    Aside from providing the benefits of more senior living and rental housing, the project marks a pivotal time in north Baton Rouge. After a summer of bloodshed and widespread flooding, a newfound light was shined on the parts of the city north of Florida Boulevard, and a push is underway to attract investment dollars to the area and create jobs there.

    Voters in December approved a new tax on hotel stays in the area to fund a north Baton Rouge economic district. The district’s board will try to find developers and convince them north Baton Rouge is a good place to do business.

    “The growth in our parish is going to be on the north end,” says Richard Preis, the developer of the 200-acre Howell Place, which features four hotels and five restaurants and fast food chains. Howell Place also has land ready to be developed, Preis points out.

    Members of the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District Board—which includes Tony Pizzolato of Tony’s Seafood, Gary Chambers of The Rouge Collection and Stephanie Cargile of ExxonMobil—forecast a new age for the north end of East Baton Rouge Parish.

    “Stay tuned,” says Rinaldi Jacobs, the board’s interim executive director. “We have to put out the narrative that business is good in north Baton Rouge.”

    —Sam Karlin

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