While it might be expected that the first phase opening of Electric Depot would ignite further development in that section of the Mid City corridor, it’s too early to determine the overall market effects of the redeveloped property, despite growing interest in the area.
Soon to hit the market is a 27,500-square-foot, balconied warehouse building and adjacent half-acre of land just across the railroad tracks on Government Street. Carmen Austin, of Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate, will list the property, most recently occupied by AIM Applegate Industrial Materials.
“We’re talking with some developers who have great visions for the property,” Austin says. “The momentum in Mid City is at an all-time high, so we feel the timing is right.”
Also boosting the site is both its location within an Opportunity Zone as well as the possibility of using historic tax credits in the building’s renovations. Austin says interest is coming from developers in town, from New Orleans and out-of-state, all envisioning projects that would complement Electric Depot. Among these are a hotel, food hall, restaurant, recreational space, retail building, housing area or mixed-use development.
But it’s across Government Street from a large, undeveloped swath of land running from South 14th to Convention Street that had, until January, been on the market for two years, listing at $2.6 million before its owners pulled it from the market. Jon Claitor, whose family has owned the property for decades, says he would still want to sell the site to Commercial Properties Realty Trust, the real estate arm of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which previously planned to convert it to a “railroad depot.” Before doing anything else with the property, Claitor says he’s waiting to see whether the proposed Baton Rouge-New Orleans passenger rail takes off.
Meanwhile, Daily Report learned earlier this year that several investors were eyeing two neighboring properties for sale across Government Street from Electric Depot. Since then, a private local investor has purchased the 1,700-square-foot building at 1600 Government Street for an undisclosed sales price, with plans to lease out the space to other tenants, says Mathew Laborde of Elifin Realty.
However, the other property—a 6,810-square-foot space located at 1606, 1608 and 1610 Government Street—is still on the market, says Robert Pettit III of Walters & Pettit Commercial Real Estate. Once used for storage space, Pettit says the building is vacant now, but notes it’s catching the eye of “a couple of parties.”
“The whole area is still transitioning, but the historic tax credits should help,” says Pettit, who imagines the building could be used for retail, office or even residential purposes.
Interest picks up as Dyke Nelson, who is developing Electric Depot, works to fill the remaining 5,000 square feet, or 15%, of leasable space in the building next to the Red Stick Social entertainment venue. At Monday’s Planning Commission meeting, Nelson secured commercial alcoholic beverage designation for Japanese restaurant BŌRU, one of the announced building tenants.
Moreover, 12 of the 16 apartments planned for phase one have already been leased, Nelson says, with some tenants already moved in. Construction on another 100 apartment units will begin early next year.