Nearly seven months after acquiring the former Borden’s Dairy headquarters building on Florida Boulevard for $417,000, commercial real estate broker Andy McCall has cleared the first hurdle towards obtaining federal historic building tax credits that could be used to offset the cost of renovating the property.
Though McCall, a principal at Momentum Real Estate, still has a couple of steps to go before the building is qualified to receive the credits, the notification he received yesterday from the U.S. Department of the Interior is an welcome development in what promises to be an ambitious and challenging project.
The iconic Borden’s facility has sat vacant and blighted for years, adding to the eyesores that line much of the 20-mile Florida Boulevard thoroughfare.
McCall’s family has actually owned much of the property behind the familiar structure for decades, including the processing plant where Borden’s made milk and ice cream for the Baton Rouge market until 2006, when it shifted those operations to Lafayette.
But Borden’s continued to own a two-acre tract, including its abandoned headquarters building fronting Florida Boulevard, until early this year, when McCall acquired it.
In the months since, as he has done some minor work to clean it up and worked his way through the tax credit approval process, McCall says he has not been actively marketing the property for sale, even though it is listed on the Louisiana Commercial Building Database. He says he’s not sure yet whether he wants to tackle redevelopment himself or try to sell it to someone else who could, potentially, use the tax credits. Federal building tax credits, when taken in combination with comparable state credits, can offset 40% of qualified expenditures.
Though the city has no long-term plan for Florida Boulevard redevelopment, McCall says he remains hopeful the thoroughfare will benefit from the growing demand for property in Mid City and along Government Street. He notes that one positive sign is the recent groundbreaking of a new retail strip center that will be located just to the west of his Borden’s facility and will house a new Enterprise Rent A Car office and Checker’s restaurant.
“I’m still really optimistic,” he says. “I keep saying to myself that people won’t keep paying what they’re paying to be on Government St. It’s going to trickle over onto Florida.”