After a dozen years of on-again-off-again deals and failed attempts to find a home for a new south branch library, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Board of Control secured a site today for the long-awaited branch, when the city-parish acquired 1.96 acres in Rouzan for $1.7 million.
The deal was announced in March 2018, just weeks after Enquist Rouzan Commercial Development acquired the Southdowns-area development from original developer Tommy Spinosa. But it has taken nearly 18 months to get to the closing, which was completed earlier today.
The city-parish acquires all land for the library, but building costs are covered by library system funds set aside years ago for the project.
“We could not be happier to be a small part of what will be an amazing asset of south Baton Rouge,” says attorney Charles Landry, who serves as the developer of Engquist Rouzan Commercial Development.
As currently envisioned, the new library will be around 15,000 square feet and has a budget of just under $7 million, including the purchase price of the land. The site is situated at the intersection of Glasgow Avenue and Tupello Street, near the periphery of the Traditional Neighborhood Development.
While today’s property transfer was a major step in the development of the library, the facility is still several years away from becoming reality.
The city-parish now has to go through a selection process to hire a design team to design the library in a consistent manner with the design code for Rouzan, Landry says. Then, the project must be bid.
Landry estimates it will be 18-24 months before construction starts, and another 12-18 months for the building to be completed.