BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Developers are focused on an area of Baton Rouge ripe for redevelopment. Two new mixed-income apartment complexes will bring 222 units to Downtown East, which includes the stretch of Spanish Town Rd. just east of I-110.
Volunteers of America has been awarded $5.7 million in Community Development Block Grants to develop a 122-unit complex called Valencia Park on Spanish Town Rd. between N. 14th and N. 15th Streets. Half of the apartments will be reserved for veterans and their families.
The funding was received from the Louisiana Housing Corporation as part of recovery efforts from the 2016 flooding.
"With the devastation caused by the flood, many affordable rental housing that was here was taken offline and has not come back, so we're excited to be able to bring 122 quality, safe apartment homes that will be affordable to working families," said Vanessa Levine, Development Director for Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Volunteers of America.
Once completed, the 3-story apartment building will feature 62 1 bedroom/1 bathroom units, 54 2 bedroom/2 bathroom units, and six 3 bedroom/2 bathroom apartments. Amenities include community space, pedestrian walkways, landscaped green space, an outdoor pavilion, and on-site parking.
Construction is anticipated to start in early 2019, with leasing expected to start in early 2020.
Valencia Park will sit one block from The Elysian, opened in 2013, and The Elysian II, which is currently under construction.
"Housing in Baton Rouge is an especially urgent need," said Chris Tyson, President and CEO of the EBR Redevelopment Authority.
That group is one of several backers of Elysian II, hoping to build on the success of the first building. Elysian II will bring 100 units, with a majority renting for market rate and less than half an affordable rate. The majority in the original Elysian are affordable.
Tyson said the additional complex should help diversify the area.
"As we see an increased concentration of residents, we'll be able to support more retail, more commercial development, and really build out a neighborhood, and that's what we want, communities that are whole," he explained.
The three complexes combined will mean 322 apartments in a four-block stretch within walking distance of Downtown. Developers hope it leads to more projects in the Downtown East and Mid City areas.
"We'd love to do more, and we've been looking around town at various sites and opportunities, because there's just such a strong demand for this type of housing," Levine said.