Daily Report

This Afternoon's Headlines / Mon, September 29, 2014


Bar to replace Louie's Cafe on State Street

A new bar serving food is planned for the space at 209 W. State St., which is currently home to Louie's CafÚ but will be vacated later this fall when the iconic Baton Rouge diner moves down the street to a larger space. Local bar owner Shane Courrege, who is a part-owner of both Duvic's and Spanish Moon, is teaming up with Luis Macedo, currently the head chef at Pinetta's European Restaurant, to open the new concept bar and eatery in early 2015. "It's a small space, so it will be quiet, relaxed and intimately lit," says Courrege, who signed a lease for the 2,000-square-foot space last week with building owner Jimmy Wetherford. "There really isn't anything like it around here." Courrege and Macedo don't have a name yet for the establishment, which will have a menu featuring gourmet grilled sandwiches, salads and limited entrees. The new bar is the latest of several changes planned for the popular North Gates area, just outside the LSU campus. As previously reported, Highland Coffees is closing in late December because its lease was not renewed. A new restaurant is planned for that space. Louie's, meanwhile, will be moving down the street in late October to the former Wendy's space on Lake Street, and later this year national chain Newk's Eatery will open a restaurant adjacent to Louie's in the long-vacant building that formerly housed Gatti's Pizza. —Stephanie Riegel

LeBlanc acquires two Main Street buildings downtown for $1.23M

Gordon LeBlanc Jr. has added two more downtown buildings to his investment portfolio after purchasing 626 Main St. for $700,000 and 640 Main St. for $530,000 in separate transactions, according to records filed with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court. Both buildings were purchased from the families of Morris and John Butler, Mary Sue Stages, and Elizabeth and Nanette Nealy. LeBlanc owns several downtown properties with Tom Adamek, a business partner. One of the buildings, which is on the same block and houses Cumulus Media, was purchased at the beginning of the month for $1.28 million. LeBlanc and Adamek also own the roughly 4,000-square-foot building at 336 Third St. that was formerly the longtime home of the Riverside Patty restaurant. It is unclear if Adamek is involved in the latest purchases. Neither Adamek nor LeBlanc could be reached by this afternoon's deadline for details on plans for the buildings. —Kelly Connelly

BornÚ says 'tsunami of investment' in La. may be biggest in US history

By now, you've certainly heard of the "tsunami of investment" that's beginning to storm Louisiana's shores due to the "fracking miracle," as Dan BornÚ, president of both the Louisiana Chemical Association and the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance, likes to phrase it. By LCA and LCIA estimates, as much as $90 billion worth of industrial investments will be made in the state in the coming years due to the revolutionary changes in the petrochemical and energy sectors caused by hydraulic fracturing. BornÚ acknowledges the magnitude of that level of investment—not to mention the concerns it raises regarding the state's ability to handle it in terms of workforce and infrastructure preparedness—can be hard to grasp. Speaking to the Press Club of Baton Rouge today, BornÚ attempted to frame today's investment picture in a historical context. Going all the way back to the late 1880s—even before the discovery of oil or natural gas in the state—Louisiana was a leader in the precursor to those industries: the sulphur industry, BornÚ says. And ever since the discovery of oil in Jennings in 1901 and natural gas a few years later, the state has remained a leader in the energy and petrochemical sectors. Through the decades, the state has seen several waves of significant investment. But BornÚ says what's happening in Louisiana right now is not only bigger than anything that's come before it in the state, it may also prove to be a bellwether of industrial investment for the nation. "This is the most intensive period of investment in a region in the history of America," BornÚ says. —Steve Sanoski Read the full story here.

Executive Spotlight: David Winwood

This summer Pennington Biomedical Research Center hired David Winwood to be its first chief business development officer. A scientist, entrepreneur and expert in technology transfer, Winwood is establishing the center's Department of Business Development & Commercialization. Its aim is "to develop interactions with partners from around the world who will be able to work with Pennington Biomedical investigators," Winwood tells Business Report in its latest Executive Spotlight feature. The network of relationships he envisions naturally includes people and resources in Louisiana. "Increasing outreach and awareness is an important initial goal—with the business community and with our own investigators," he says. In the long term, his department will facilitate the complex process of bringing to market the center's research discoveries. "If you are talking about developing a new therapeutic drug and starting down the development path to approval and market entry, the road to commercial success is a daunting and expensive proposition," he says. Yet the attendant challenges are familiar to Winwood. "I've been a part of very lean startup companies developing therapeutics or drug delivery systems," he says. "I've also been on the technology and intellectual property management side in major research universities." Read the full Q&A with Winwood. Here's a sample of what you'll find:
What is an influential piece of advice you personally received? "'Never stop learning. Don't be afraid to break away from the expected path to get where you want to go.' This more or less summarizes advice from my father—a man who left school at the age of 14 and ended his working life with several university graduates reporting to him. When I was tired of studying, he always guided me back in line."

'Business Report' planner: Workshop aims to teach entrepreneurs how to bring products to market … Series of seminars to provide advice on teaching financial responsibility to youths … Advertising federation meeting features Kelly Stevens

Tuesday: Entrepreneurs searching for a way to bring their products to market may benefit from a Louisiana Small Business Development Center workshop that aims to outline the process step-by-step. The workshop will cover topics such as developing a concept, building a prototype and manufacturing the product. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana will guide the presentations. The event is at the Louisiana Technology Park, 7117 Florida Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Get complete details and register to attend.

Friday: The Louisiana Council for Economic Education and the Jump$tart Louisiana Coalition hosts an all-day series of seminars for teachers and others on teaching financial responsibility to youths. Topics include how economic trends influence personal finances, ways to build wealth through saving and investing, debt management techniques, and issues faced by people living in poverty. The event will be held at East Baton Rouge Parish School System's Professional Development Center, 3000 N. Sherwood Forest Blvd., from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Registration is $75 and includes breakfast. Get complete details and register to attend.

Friday: The American Advertising Federation will host its October luncheon at Juban's restaurant, 3739 Perkins Road, featuring Kelly Stevens, a brand experience expert and art director. Stevens' company, Seven Creative, works primarily with food and food retail. The luncheon begins at 11:30. There is no registration fee for federation members; $30 for guests. Get complete details and register to attend.

The Business Report planner is open to events of general interest to the Capital Region business community. Items must be submitted no later than noon the Friday before the event occurs. Email ssanoski@businessreport.com with information.

For the full list of upcoming events, click here.

EnLink Midstream to purchase pipeline network from Chevron for $235M

EnLink Midstream Partners LP has signed an agreement with Chevron Pipe Line Company and Chevron Midstream Pipelines LLC to acquire a bundle of pipelines, including the Bridgeline, Chandeleur and Sabine systems and ownership and management tracking services offered at the Henry Hub distribution site. If the deal goes through, 1,400 miles of natural gas pipeline and 11 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage predominantly located in southern Louisiana would change hands for a projected $235 million, according to a press release issued today by EnLink. "The assets will support our growth strategy by expanding our franchise position in southern Louisiana, a dynamic and growing market we know well," EnLink Midstream President and CEO Barry E. Davis says in the release. "These high-quality assets will complement our existing business and provide us with opportunities to serve a wider range of customers with an expanded range of services." The Dallas-based company already own 7,400 miles of gathering and transportation pipelines, 13 processing plants and seven fractionators across the country. That includes assets in the Marcellus Shale, where the Dominion South Hub in Pennsylvania recently surpassed Louisiana's Henry Hub as the most active place for trading physical U.S. natural gas. The transaction is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter, pending regulatory approvals.

News roundup: Raceland bank to merge with Gonzales-based United Community Bancshares… Teachers union files suit against La. over charter school funding … ATM fees keep climbing, survey says

Join together: Gonzales-based United Community Bancshares Inc. is merging with Raceland-based Community Bancorp of Louisiana, the banks announced today. The merger will create a bank holding company with over $600 million in total consolidated assets, with 13 locations in six parishes, including East Baton Rouge and Ascension. The bank will operate under the Community Bancorp of Louisiana brand. The merger is expected to close before the end of the year, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Follow the money: The Louisiana Association of Educators filed suit today against the state alleging that some charter schools are unconstitutionally funded with state dollars, The Associated Press reports. According to the teachers union, the state constitution limits funding to parish and city systems. More than 30 charter schools authorized by the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are at issue. Read the full story.

Going up: The average fee for using an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank went up 5% over the past year. The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM climbed to a new high of $4.35 per transaction, according to a survey released today by Bankrate.com. Overdraft fees also surged, rising on average over the past 12 months to $32.74. That's the 16th consecutive record high, the firm says. The Associated Press has the full story.
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