Downtown Investment Escalates
Corroborating the Economic Viability of Baton Rouge’s Downtown

Yesterday’s Downtown Development District Board Meeting at the City Club revealed many innovative projects and partnerships recently initiated, corroborating the economic viability of Baton Rouge’s Downtown. The Downtown has received a remarkable amount of public and private investment over the years. These investments continue to attract the attention of developers, designers, and investors interested in projects that will benefit Baton Rouge’s quality of life.

EPA Greening America’s Capitals Awarded to Downtown Greenway
The Downtown Development District is pleased to fully announce EPA’s award to Baton Rouge, as one of five cities selected, to receive technical assistance for the Downtown Greenway through the Greening America’s Capitals program. Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Baton Rouge will receive assistance in planning a Downtown Greenway in the heart of Louisiana’s capital city that will connect the inner city residential areas with the city’s Downtown.

The proposed Greenway will be a 2.75-mile pedestrian and bicycling corridor that links neighborhoods to parks, businesses, and cultural attractions. The Greening America’s Capitals project will specifically create design options that incorporate green infrastructure elements into the Greenway plan to ensure that the city’s investment creates green spaces that provide environmental benefits while sparking new investments and redevelopment in the city’s core. The Greenway will provide residents and visitors with options for walking and biking in order to reduce air pollution from automobile travel and to encourage active and healthy lifestyles for residents. The project will begin in fall 2012, will include an onsite design workshop and will conclude with a final report that includes design options for implementation. Click here to view the Greenway funding matrix.

New Look for Downtown Market
Cooper Alvarez, the Director of the Big River Economic and Agricultural Alliance (BREADA), presented renderings of the proposed renovation of the Main Street Market redesigned by Commercial Design Interiors Group and a team of LSU students. These renovations focus on maximizing the functionality of the space to accommodate the ever increasing abundance of Red Stick Farmers Market. An exhibition of the work is planned for September 18, 2012 at 6:00pm in the LSU College of Art and Design Atrium. Click here for the presentation invite.

Capital Venture Fund Focused on Downtown
Trey Godfrey, a partner in Vision City and president of Springboard Baton Rouge announced the Capital Region Venture Partners’ interest in investing 5 million dollars of seed capital to digital media technology companies and real estate predevelopment funding in and around Downtown Baton Rouge. Springboard will select four companies to participate this fall in the Startup Accelerator Program; selected companies will be announced this Friday. Click here to view the press release.

Historic Spanish Town Renovations
Also announced at the DDD Board Meeting, was the acquisition of 13 residential properties in the Historic Spanish Town area by local investors. The properties acquired will be updated and renovated to contribute to the overall historic quality of the Spanish Town Area. Included are longtime area investors, Lance Bennett and Ben Babin who alone are investing in 6 of the properties in this latest wave of redevelopment.

These initiatives are in addition to the recent announcements involving the Commerce Building bringing added residential, office, and retail space as well as the Ameritas Technology Center adding 300 jobs to Downtown and the $1.5 million recently awarded for Downtown Greenway Construction. Recent private investment and attention to Downtown has accelerated to an unprecedented and exciting level, ensuring Downtown’s continued progress and its ability to economically impact the entire Parish of East Baton Rouge.