Velvet Cactus to improve parking and access at Baton Rouge restaurant with purchase of adjacent Dyson House property

An owner of The Velvet Cactus restaurant is among a group of investors that has purchased the former Dyson House property on Jefferson Highway for $1.5 million with plans to improve parking and access to the restaurant on Old Hammond Highway.

“They realize there’s an issue there with parking and access, and so they bought this property to redesign and expand parking, which may include expanding the patio and bar area, and it will also allow for another access point to the restaurant from Jefferson,” says Mark Hebert of Kurz & Hebert Commercial Real Estate, which represented the buyer, VCBRLAND LLC. “That corner is very tight and it gets a lot of traffic, so they’re trying to really improve the overall access.”

The Velvet Cactus opened at 7655 Old Hammond Highway in December of last year. The former Dyson House antiques store at 7575 Jefferson Highway backs up to the restaurant. For the time being, Velvet Cactus employees will park on the site, Hebert says, while details on the lot redesign are worked up and permits are acquired over the next six months.

The Dyson House location also was formerly home to The Mail Bag, which relocated about three weeks ago to 7515 Jefferson Highway, inside the Jefferson Plaza retail center, after operating for 22 years at the former location.

“I think it was really a win-win for us and for everyone else involved,” says Louis Landry, who co-owns The Mail Bag along with H. Kay Rothkamm and had operated Dyson House, which is now closed for good.

As for the Dyson House building, Hebert says a short-term tenant may be sought, but that the structure may ultimately be torn down in the redevelopment.

“The longer-term plan will probably include some new small retail there,” Hebert says. “They have a use in mind, but it’s not etched in stone.”

Charlie Colvin of Beau Box Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, Deanna Dyson Ashworth.

—Steve Sanoski

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