Officials say 2015 will be big year for downtown development - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Officials say 2015 will be big year for downtown development

IBM building (Source: WAFB) IBM building (Source: WAFB)
Riverfront development (Source: WAFB) Riverfront development (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Construction crews are gaining ground on several big projects in downtown Baton Rouge. IBM, hotels, and several upscale apartment complexes are set to unroll welcome mats in 2015.

The Mississippi River Front is in the middle of a makeover to greet the businesses, residents, and visitors expected to settle in the heart of the city next year.

Executive Director for the Downtown Development District Davis Rhorer said several entrepreneurs are on the brink of opening their doors.

"What we're seeing is hundreds of millions of dollars in development," Rhorer said.

IBM will be ready and waiting with two floors of office spaces for rent in the Spring.

A Holiday Inn Express is also slated to open in place of the old Baton Rouge Savings and Loan building on North Boulevard and St. Ferdinand Street.

A residential and retail space, called 440 on 3rd, which will include a Matherne's grocery store, is scheduled to open in January. Rhorer said space is limited.

"Of the 64 residential units, we have 140 people on a waiting list," Rhorer said.

Demolition has also begun on another apartment complex, The Commerce Building. Another building is under construction on Convention Street and Third Street,. Onyx, and the 525 are set to follow suit next year.

Marketing Director for Commercial Properties Realty Trust Tina Rance has been has been tasked with marketing properties downtown.

"I don't think we're going to recognize the city in a few years," Rance said.

She said young professionals are on board with the idea of living in the up and coming district. She said developers are going the extra mile to reach a generation that thrives on technology.

"You'll be able to control your thermostat, your lights and your door locks from your cell phone. You'll be able to pay rent from your cell phone," Rance said.

The idea, Rhorer said, is for residents to never find a reason to leave.

Whether it is the bike paths, shopping, or dining experience visitors are looking for, the goal, leaders said, is to offer a downtown that delivers.

For more information on the new apartments and renderings, visit www.lovedowntownbr.com

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