High-Profile Mixed-Use Projects Help Attract Top-Notch Retailers to Baton RougeAttention retailers — Baton Rouge is the place to be. For the first time in the area’s history, the Baton Rouge MSA is expected to exceed 400,000 overall jobs in 2015 according to economists Loren Scott and James Richardson.
The surge in employment is being fueled by numerous projects including $16 billion in industrial construction projects in the Baton Rouge MSA, along with $1 billion in public construction.
Construction is underway downtown on a $55 million office tower and residential complex, which will be the home of the new IBM Technology Center where 800 highly skilled computer savvy individuals will be employed.
Construction is also underway on a state-of-the-art water research facility in downtown Baton Rouge. The “Water Campus” situated on 30 acres next to the Mississippi River will initially consist of three buildings totaling $45 million in construction costs. This research park will provide an opportunity for academics and private-sector scientists and engineers to collaborate in producing the best available science on water management and coastal issues. For a state heavily weighted in the energy and petrochemical sectors, this will be a catalyst for economic diversification.
Juban Crossing: The most significant new mixed-use project to come on line in 2014 is Juban Crossing, a 471-acre development located just east of Baton Rouge on Interstate 12 at Juban Road. The $350 million development will be built in three phases, and combines four separate districts for work, play, shopping and living. After being delayed for several years, retail stores began opening in October 2014 in the first phase of the project. Retailers now open include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bed Bath & Beyond, Belk, Michael’s, Old Navy, PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less, Rouses Grocery, Shoe Carnival, Ulta Beauty and T.J. Maxx.
The 1.2 million-square-foot project developed by Creekstone Cos. will eventually house more than 100 stores, restaurants and service businesses along with a hotel, multifamily and single-family component.
Movie Tavern will open its first location in Louisiana at Juban Crossing in the fall.
Perkins Rowe: “Beautiful and Unique” is the only way to describe this one-of-a-kind mixed-use project. The development opened in early 2008 only to succumb to controversy and negative publicity after the developer defaulted on the loan. The property was sold to the current owner, Crawfish LLC, in December 2013. Millions of dollars are now being spent to repair and complete unfinished work on the condos and apartments.
Located at the intersection of Bluebonnet Boulevard and Perkins Road, the total square footage of 710,896 square feet consists of 128,180 square feet of office space, 375,122 square feet of retail space, 88 condo units and 334 apartment units. Perkins Rowe blends shopping, dining, entertainment, office, residential living, and fitness in a pedestrian-friendly, streetscaped environment.
A partial list of the current tenants includes Barnes & Noble, The Fresh Market, Cinemark, BCBG, J Crew, Kendra Scott, Alumni Hall, Charming Charlie’s, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Z Gallerie, Sur La Tab, White House Black Market and LA Fitness.
Stirling Properties, a New Orleans based firm, currently manages and leases the property. Retail Union, a Dallas-based firm, recently joined forces with Stirling to handle the retail leasing.
Acadian Village: The 77,540-square-foot center, developed by Commercial Properties Realty Trust, opened in the fall of 2013 at the intersection of I-10 and Acadian Thruway, providing easy access from downtown, LSU and neighboring subdivisions. The shopping center is filled with an interesting assortment of local and national retailers, making it a fun place to shop and dine while satisfying the needs of the local neighborhood.
Two of the key tenants are based in New Orleans and include Galatorie’s Restaurant and Acme Oyster House. Trader Joe’s opened its first location in Louisiana at the center and the much-coveted Lululemon is currently under construction on a freestanding pad site. Other tenants include Nadeau Furniture, Pei Wei, Petco and Pier One.
The center recently sold to the Dallas-based real estate firm Crow Holdings for $32.1 million.
While Walmart always seems to be the center of attention, it is the local chains that are expanding in the market. What makes them so popular is that they cater to the needs and wants of the neighborhoods they serve, particularly in the deli department. Only in South Louisiana can you buy lunch at a locally owned grocery store serving red beans and rice, chicken and sausage gumbo, po-boys, or jambalaya.
Rouses, which is a 50-store chain, opened at Juban Crossing last fall. The grocer will also construct another 50,000-square-foot store sometime this year in the Long Farm Village traditional neighborhood development.
Other operators expanding include Alexander’s, LeBlanc’s and Matherne’s, which just opened in downtown Baton Rouge. This is the first grocer to operate in downtown in more than 50 years and is a strong testament to the growth in the downtown area.
Health clubs entering the Baton Rouge market include LA Fitness, Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym.
The Mall of Louisiana recently announced that Nordstrom Rack will open a 30,000-square-foot store next fall.
Costco opened its first store in Baton Rouge last April, investing $38 million on the 150,000-square-foot store.
Baton Rouge is booming and is a great place to live and work. Laissez les bons temp rouler (or “Let the good times roll!”).
— By Dottie Tarleton, CCIM, Senior Broker Associate, Stirling Properties LLC. This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Southeast Real Estate Business.