Downtown Commerce Building Under New Ownership
5thfloor Company (www.5thfloorco.com), a New Orleans-based firm led by TJ Larocci on behalf of a group of private investors, has acquired the 8-story, 180,000 square foot, Commerce Building located on the corner of Laurel and Third Street in downtown Baton Rouge.
Built in the early 1950s, the structure has remained vacant for the last three years while numerous interested groups have explored acquiring and renovating the building without success. Iarocci, one of the partners in the award-winning, Rice Mill Lofts redevelopment in the Bywater section of New Orleans, enlisted the assistance of the Vision City Development Group partners – John Schneider, Derek Fitch, and Trey Godfrey – in negotiations with Bob Dean, the previous owner. VCDG has previously acquired four other downtown buildings from Dean; two of which have undergone $20+ million renovations – Kress @ Third & Main and the Hotel Indigo.
“Vision City’s prior experience in purchasing property from Bob Dean provided the introduction that was needed to get the negotiations process to move forward to a successful conclusion,” said Iarocci. “We have been eyeing the Commerce Building for years and we have a bold vision to put it back in successful economic commerce. We are exploring a multi-use option that would include residential, retail and office spaces.”
“We have been approached several times over the past five years by individuals interested in acquiring the Commerce Building,” said Schneider. “After meeting with TJ for the first time, we knew that he had the vision, experience and financing to actually make it happen. We welcomed serving as intermediary between the parties.”
Davis Rhorer, Executive Director of the Downtown Development District, expressed his enthusiasm over the news of the ownership transfer, “The sale and renovation of the Commerce Building has been one of our top priorities. It will continue the tremendous momentum underway for continued, downtown Baton Rouge growth. It’s another great example of the economic potential in downtown Baton Rouge.”