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Options for development around former Entergy site on Government outlined

To build out the roughly 140 acres surrounding the former Entergy site at 1509 Government St. in the quickest way and with minimal bureaucratic interference, the urban planners chosen to design a master plan for the project are working with city-parish officials to create a so-called Pink Overlay District that would cut down on red tape for developers in the area.

Andres Duany with Duany Plater-Zyberk—the Miami-based design firm commissioned by the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority to create a master plan for the “super block” bordered by Interstate 110, North Boulevard, South 19th Street and Government Street—detailed the plan Thursday during the last in a series of meetings held this week to gather community input for the plan.

Provisions of the Pink Overlay District are in early draft form. However, they could include pre-approved building plans to speed the permitting process, a reduction of fees for providing a public benefit, and time-limited tax abatements. Such an overlay district would need approval from the Metro Council.

Duany presented two designs options for the area at Thursday night’s meeting. One option would provide for landscaped plazas and parking lots to be situated among buildings in an alternating checkerboard pattern.

“Plazas of the kind they have in Europe,” Duany explained. “When the cars are on it, it’s still a plaza, but when the cars are off, it’s even better.”

See a rendering of what an apartment complex development would look like under the checkerboard design pattern. Duany called the second design option “more traditional,” whereby parking lots would be located behind buildings that are located close to the roadways. See a side-by-side comparison sketch of what the checkerboard and traditional developments look like.

Duany said he hopes the 6.2-acre former Entergy site on Government Street that’s at the core of the master plan can be built out in as little as two years and will serve as a catalyst for development in the rest of the area. The Entergy site itself would become a mixed-use development under Duany’s proposed designs; the designs would incorporate minimal architecture that would make use of raw materials such as the rusted beams of the old streetcar repair building on site. You can check out the initial designs of what each floor of the old streetcar repair building on the site could contain—Kelly Connelly

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