B.R. airport seeks rezoning approval for auto auctioneer
Officials at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport are asking the Planning Commission to rezone about 3.5 acres of undeveloped land on the north side of the airport to make way for an auto auction business announced last fall. The commission will consider rezoning the property off the south side of Blount Road at its July 15 meeting. The land is a part of the larger Aviation Business Park at the airport, which is also home to United Coca-Cola Bottlers and Express Jet Regional Jet Maintenance Center, as well as several government offices. Future tenants planned for the park include Loomis and All Star Chevrolet-North, among others. In October, Auction Broadcasting Co. told Daily Report of its plans for an ABC Baton Rouge auction business at the airport, with company officials estimating they could move as many as 600 cars a week when fully operational. Officials said they planned on employing about 50 workers at the outset, and hoped to increase employment to about 100 by the end of this year.
Magnolia Square adding commercial tenants
Stab's Steak & Seafood, a Wayne Stabiler restaurant, is opening soon in Central's Magnolia Square. So are three other businesses: Avant Tous Beauty Bar and Day Spa, Beau Ideal Salon, and Title Plus. They are joining Bourg Insurance, Edward Jones Investments, B & K Bank, Rabalais Homes, and Wall Décor & More: the existing businesses in the commercial-retail section of Magnolia Square. To celebrate, the Magnolia Square Business Association, along with the Central Chamber of Commerce, is hosting an evening social at Stab's on Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m. "All are invited" to the event, organizers say. Jimmy Nunnally and Steele Pollard are the developers of the TND on Lovett Road in Central.
Study: Minorities still face housing discrimination
Minorities continue to face discrimination when it comes to finding and securing housing, according to a new study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute. "Real estate agents and rental housing providers recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minorities than equally qualified whites," HUD says in summary of the study, for which its "paired-testing" consisted of two people—one white and one minority—calling and visiting real estate offices in 28 cities across the country last year. "Although the most blatant forms of housing discrimination have declined since the first national paired-testing study in 1977, the forms that persist raise the costs of housing search for minorities and restrict their housing options." While minorities were usually given an appointment to view available properties with an agent about as often as whites, the study says, their experiences during the appointments were often far different. In short, minorities were found to be told about or shown fewer homes or apartments than their white counterparts who provided the same financial qualifications. "Minority homebuyers sometimes experience other forms of discriminatory treatment as well, relating to housing costs and financing, housing quality, and the helpfulness of the sales agent," reads the report. "These differences are less consistent and smaller in magnitude than the differences in numbers of homes available and shown." You can find more details in a complete summary of the study here.
This week's poll question: Do you think housing discrimination is a problem in the Capital Region?
Cook: Area Wholesale Tire to replace Napa store on Airline
Area Wholesale Tire Company is constructing a new 8,000-square-foot warehouse and retail center with five, 22-foot bays on the former Napa Auto Parts at 11860 Airline Hwy. In the name of William B. Potter LLC, AWT purchased the 1.38-acre site last summer for $477,000. The property includes about 150 feet of frontage on Airline and measures roughly 400 feet in depth, with the sale price working out to $8 per square foot (before factoring in the cost of demolishing the existing structure). Austin Earhart with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate brokered the deal. AWT also has a huge warehouse distribution and retail operation on Airline, further north from the new warehouse and retail center. "We are trying to better serve our customers," says Bill Potter with AWT. "We want to be able to provide quick reliable service to people where nobody tries to sell you what you don't need. We are going to concentrate on selling tires, but we will do some alignment." The new facility is currently under construction and should be completed sometime in the next few months.
(Appraiser Tom Cook owns Cook Moore and Associates. Reach him at 293-7006 or TCook@cookmoore.com.)
Andrews: End of 2Q looms for exceptions
I'm stepping back from my self-appointed mission of informing the public that interest rates are going up (they are, you know, and right soon) to remind my friends in the real estate world that June 30 is fast approaching and bankers would appreciate it if you send in your required financial information before the end of the quarter. Bankers worry about such matters because their performance is partially evaluated based on the number of loan files that have missing financial information, and they get written up for an "exception" if they do not get the missing information into the file by the end of the quarter. The second quarter typically finds a large number of exceptions for tax returns or extensions, financial statements from subsidiaries and other items that just could not be prepared by the end of the first quarter. It is time to send that missing information to your banker and keep your file off of the lender's exception list.
(Brian Andrews is assistant director of the Real Estate Research Institute at LSU's E. J. Ourso College of Business. His business is Andrews Commercial Real Estate Services, and he can be reached at email@example.com.)
Real estate recap: Capital One building sells … Capital Region May home sales up nearly 10% … Council OK's private sewer district for Harveston
Done deal: A group of investors led by David Weinstein and local architect Dyke Nelson acquired the Capital One Bank building last week for $4.3 million. The new owners are looking for potential commercial tenants for the eight-story, 111,000-square-foot downtown building while they explore options for mixed-use redevelopment that could include residential space. They also plan to immediately add a 6,000-square-foot ninth floor on the building for use as a penthouse office. Daily Report has the full story here.
On the way up: With local home sales 9.8% better in May than they were during the month one year ago—and the average home sales price up nearly 5%—the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors says, "The market as a whole has summertime heat." According to GBRAR's latest monthly report, a total of 809 homes were sold last month in the eight-parish region it tracks, compared to 737 sold last May. The average sales price last month was $198,991, up from $196,757 in May 2012. The full story from Daily Report and the complete May sales report can be found here.
Good to go: Despite some objections, the Metro Council has overwhelmingly approved the creation of a private sewer district to serve the 1,600-acre Harveston development being built at Nicholson Drive and Bluebonnet Boulevard. Creating a separate sewer district, which would be the first in the parish, will allow developers to avoid paying sewer impact fees to the city-parish. Councilman Ryan Heck, who cast the lone dissenting vote, questioned why the developers could not tie into a new city parish sewer line that runs down Nicholson and serves residents of the nearby University Club Plantation development. Daily Report has the full story here.