Bon Carré up for auction—again

    For the second time in less than a year, the Bon Carré Technology Center is up for auction.

    Unlike the previous unsuccessful effort to unload the property, however, the minimum bid for the 713,000-square-foot center is now just $6 million.

    That’s half the $12 million minimum bid that was posted prior to the earlier auction last November, and just a fraction of the $36.1 million mortgage Bon Carré’s former owner, Commercial Properties Realty Trust, defaulted on in late 2017.

    A $6 million minimum bid figure is nothing short of astounding, says commercial appraiser Wesley Moore of Cook Moore and Associates, given what has been invested in Bon Carré over the years and what its asking price was as recently as 2018.

    “That is really, really cheap,” says Moore, adding it’s important to know whether $6 million is just a starting point or if that is also the reserve price, or minimum price, the lending group that owns the property would be willing to accept for it.

    The online offering doesn’t say. It does note the property is 59% occupied, down from 67% less than a year ago and a high of nearly 90% in 2011.

    The future of Bon Carré—home, most notably, to the Louisiana Technology Park and EATEL-Venyu Data Center—has been in question since late 2017, when longtime owner CPRT defaulted on its mortgage, agreeing to transfer the long-troubled business park back to its lender.

    The three-day auction last fall ended with a $30.5 million bid. A spokesman with Ten-X at the time, however, declined to provide any details about the bidding and whether anyone had actually won the property. In the months that followed, no conveyance records were filed with the East Baton Rouge Parish courthouse and no announcements about new ownership were ever made.

    Earlier this year, a broker representing the center confirmed what many in local real estate circles have suspected—the property never changed hands.

    “The owners decided to hold on to it,” Creighton Stark, a broker with the Dallas office of Colliers International, said at the time. “I’m not really sure what happened or what they’ve decided to do with it.”

    They’ve apparently decided to try again at a significantly lower price point.

    “Will it work? Who knows,” Moore says. “It will be interesting to see how this plays out.”

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