It’s not every day that a 1-acre tract of land in the middle of the Garden District comprising 11 lots, three corners, four commercial establishments and two houses comes on the market.
But owner Gordon Mese has decided it’s time to sell the unique, L-shaped tract that has been in his family since 1928.
The asking price is $1.2 million for the property, which is bounded by the 2500 block of Government Street, as well as Wisteria, Rose and Lavinia streets, and includes Front Yard Bikes, a former dental office, and two of Mese’s businesses that he shut down late last year for health reasons—Garden District Nursery and GD Barbecue.
“The way I look at it, as an urban, regional planner, it’s pretty much the best piece of property in Baton Rouge,” he says. “It’s one of the highest places in the city, it doesn’t flood, it is the only block you can buy from one owner—and there are no big pieces left on Government Street —and we’re one mile from downtown, seven minutes from LSU and if the train station goes through we’ll be a quarter-mile from the train station.”
Mese says he has entertained offers on the property many times over the years but deals always got hung up because of the presence of a small oil storage tank on the rear of the GD Barbecue site—a holdover from when the property was a gas station.
Mese finally had the tank removed from the property and recently received clearance from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, which he says should alleviate any concerns and any efforts by potential buyers to lower their offers because of environmental issues.
Mese’s family acquired the property gradually over the years, beginning with the corner lot at Government and St. Rose streets that was most recently the site of GD Barbecue. That parcel was originally a gas station that Mese’s grandfather opened in 1929.
Mese considered selling the parcels individually but says he was advised to try to sell it as one piece and thinks it will be more attractive that way for a potential buyer.
“For now, we’ll try to sell it as one and just see what happens,” he says. “After 91 years, we’re going to let go of the property and let someone bring it to its next evolution.”