Expect tougher standards: Lending for real estate financing is picking up a little this year after being nearly dormant in 2010, but the terms and conditions are much tougher than before the recession. That was perhaps the most significant take-home point from the Trends in Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate seminar last week. “Our banks are out there again, but they’re kind of sticking their toes in the water cautiously,” says Brian Andrews of Andrews Commercial Real Estate Services. Lenders prefer to look at existing projects with good histories and are looking closely at the global cash flow and the past of each project’s sponsors. Conduit lenders are starting to come back; however, those lenders are not expected to be active in the Baton Rouge market for some time. One potential source of funding for projects is the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, which is now up and running, with financing for projects that will benefit the city’s core neighborhoods, says Mark Goodson, vice president of the authority.
Making its mark on II City Plaza: Regions Bank has moved its insurance division into its local headquarters downtown. The office recently moved from a leased location on Jamestown Avenue into the II City Plaza building. Thirty employees are now working in an 18,772-square-foot office on the second floor of II City Plaza, says Kendal Matassa, a Regions spokesman. Regions now occupies just under 70,000 square feet in II City Plaza, including two whole floors in the office building.