Need a water treatment plant? Baton Rouge could sell the Central property as is

Baton Rouge city-parish officials are strongly considering the possibility of putting the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant property on the market within the next year—without tearing down the decommissioned plant.

The move would allow the developer who buys the property to choose how they clear the 20-acre site, located off River Road between downtown and LSU. The facility was decommissioned nearly three years ago and is located in the same area as the long-planned River District, a proposed mixed-use development featuring residential and retail components.

“With that piece of property being in that district and potentially coming of value,” says Rowdy Gaudet, assistant chief administrative officer, “is it better for the city-parish to demolish and then market the property as open land, or to sell the property as is?”

They’re leaning toward the latter option, he says, though no final decision has been made.

In years past, the site had been considered for many possible uses, including a concert venue, assembly hall and several restaurants.

“It’s eventually going to be considered excess property, so we will probably sell it,” Richard Speer, director of environmental services for the city-parish, told Daily Report last week. “But we haven’t gotten that far down the road yet. We haven’t marketed it to anybody.”

Most of the plant’s operations have, over the past several years, been transferred to Baton Rouge’s South Wastewater Treatment Plant on Gardere Lane, which expanded its daily capacity to 200 million gallons of wastewater following a $250 million upgrade in 2015.

However, Speer says lab workers on his staff are still working at the central plant, waiting until the river goes down to tackle “one small project.” Those workers will move to the south plant once a lab is built there in the next year.

Kelvin Hill, director of the Department of Public Works, could not be reached for comment before this afternoon’s deadline.

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