La. Realtors Association seeks permit to demolish downtown B.R. office
The Louisiana Realtors Association is seeking a permit from the city-parish Planning Commission to demolish its downtown offices—a 93-year-old former residence at 821 Main St.—and construct a new building on the site that would serve as the association's headquarters. The demolition permit application, filed today, says the building has been significantly modified and renovated several times, detracting from its original historical value. "The structure was investigated for its potential adaptive reuse but it has been determined the nature and condition is not suitable for the purpose and use of the new owner," the permit application states. Collis Temple Jr. currently owns the building but has a purchase agreement with the LRA. It is unclear if the purchase agreement is contingent on the demolition permit. Malcolm Young, CEO of the LRA and the applicant for the demo permit, was at a conference today and unavailable for additional comment by this afternoon's deadline. A site plan for the new building also filed today with the Planning Commission says the site will be re-graded and repaired for future construction. Architectural renderings for the new building were also filed with the Planning Commission, which will take up the issue at its April 21 meeting. —Stephanie Riegel
Beau Box relocating B.R. headquarters to Bankers Avenue
Beau Box Real Estate is planning to move its Baton Rouge headquarters from Jefferson Highway to a new, 10,500-square-foot facility at 5500 Bankers Ave., not far from the intersection of College Drive and Corporate Boulevard. The relocation is expected to be completed in October. The real estate firm says in a prepared statement issued today that the new facility—which will cost an estimated $1.45 million to develop, according to a recently filed permit application—will provide for its "continued growth and expansion." The firm, founded in 2004, has been at its 9,100-square-foot headquarters at 8710 Jefferson Highway since April 2011, when it cited the need for additional space as the reason for moving from a 4,300-square-foot site, also located on Jefferson Highway. Also filed recently with the city-parish is a permit for the new, 24,000-square-foot office of personal injury attorney Gordon J. McKernan—better known as "G. Gordon"—who is vacating a 14,000-square-foot building on Bankers Avenue. As previously reported by Daily Report
, McKernan is developing the office on a 1.1-acre parcel
adjacent to the Baton Rouge Marriott on Hilton Avenue, which he acquired in September for $590,000. —Staff report
Spinosa to ask First Circuit for rehearing in Rouzan ruling
Developer Tommy Spinosa plans to ask the First Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing in his case over the validity of Rouzan's zoning as a traditional neighborhood development. A three-judge panel last week nullified Rouzan's zoning as a TND
on the grounds that the developer did not have full ownership and control over all the property within the boundaries of the TND when the Metro Council rezoned it in 2008. "We intend to request a rehearing," says Rouzan Marketing Director Kelly Vastine. "Planning commission matters are being discussed with various parties involved and are yet to be determined." If the appellate court denies Spinosa's request for a rehearing, the developer will have to go back before the planning commission to have the property rezoned as either a TND or a planned unit development—either of which would likely reopen a can of worms with Southdowns area residents, who fought the rezoning of the property in 2008. —Stephanie Riegel
Entrepreneur: David Maples and Virginia Huling
David Maples moved with Virginia Huling to Baton Rouge in August 2007 to begin his studies at the LSU law center. He did, in fact, enroll as a full-time student. Yet "the minute we came down here," says Maples, "I looked at Virginia and said, 'Why don't we just go into business for ourselves?'" As Business Report
details in its new Entrepreneur feature on Maples and Huling—who are CEO and president of Catapult Creative Media Inc., respectively—the two met at the University of Georgia, where he'd double-majored in marketing and management, she in fine art and animation. Later, in Atlanta, Huling was a designer for a Fortune 100 company, while Maples prospered at outside sales. The newcomers to the Capital City perceived it was "behind the curve in Web design." So drawing on their savings, they incorporated Drift Web Design on Sept. 11, 2007. Belatedly, Maples approached the vice chancellor for permission to work at the startup while a student: "Here's what we're doing. Please let me do this." Read the full feature.
Jindal questions Obama's intelligence, says he's worst president ever
Gov. Bobby Jindal is amping up his attacks on President Barack Obama. Little more than a week after defending himself for going offscript and openly criticising the president
at what was supposed to be a nonpartisan event in the nation's capital, Jindal was back in D.C. today, questioning Obama's intelligence in a series of jabs that included his assessment of Obama as the worst president ever. Jindal's stinging remarks were delivered to the Conservative Political Action Conference, which ABC News describes in its report as "a favorite spot for potential presidential candidates to audition their attack lines." Jindal told the conference: "We have long said this president is a smart man. It may be time to revisit that assumption. Or at least to make a distinction between being book smart and truly wise." That was just the opener. "If I were him, I'd consider suing Harvard Law School to get his money back because I'm not sure what he learned in three years," Jindal continued, suggesting Obama might want to "actually read the Constitution every now and then." Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and was the first black president of the school's law review. "How many moms and dads have told their little children that anyone can become president of the United States?" Jindal asked the conference. "Unfortunately in 2012, we learned how true that is in this country." Jindal even apologized to former President Jimmy Carter, who he once called the most incompetent president in his lifetime. "It's no longer fair to say he was the worst president," Jindal told the conference-goers. "Obama has proven me wrong." Read the full story.
BESE backs overhaul of La. career-track diploma
Public high school students who aren't college-bound will soon need to obtain job skills certifications before they can receive a diploma, under plans that received support Thursday from the state education board. The Associated Press reports the redesign of Louisiana's career-track diploma, pushed by Superintendent of Education John White, emphasizes skills training for students who don't intend to go to a four-year university. White says the new program, called "Jump Start," will better prepare students for available jobs in a state where only 28% of residents have a degree from a four-year or two-year college. He says the remaining students need skills training to fill the jobs available to them. "Jump Start tries to address those kids, to give them a path to the middle class," White told a BESE committee today. The committee agreed to the plans without objection, with 10 of the board's 11 members present for the vote. A follow-up vote Friday will give the diploma redesign final passage. All public school districts will have to make the changes by the 2016-2017 school year. The first students to receive the new diploma will graduate in 2018. High school students who seek a career-track diploma will be required to get an industry-based certification or credentials earned through dual-enrollment coursework at a technical school or community college in order to graduate and earn their diploma. Read the full story.
Caldwell says La. 'blazing the trail against corporate software piracy'
A Chinese company has agreed to pay more than $250,000 for software that it stole from an American firm and will undergo an audit next year to ensure it is remaining compliant with Louisiana's Unfair Trade Practices law, says Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. Guangdong Canbo Electrical Appliance Co. Ltd.—better known as Canbo—is the manufacturer of popular Char-broil and Char-grill barbeque grills. Caldwell says he sent a letter in December threatening a lawsuit under Louisiana's Unfair Trade Practices law after learning that the company "ran company functions for years using stolen business software." Caldwell says Louisiana businesses were put at a competitive disadvantage because the Chinese company was using pirated software. "We told Canbo we could ban their products from Louisiana, and they quickly came to the table and agreed to pay to fully legalize their software 100%," says Caldwell in a press release issued today.
Via Louisiana's 2010 Unfair Trade Practices law, Caldwell says the state is "blazing the trail against corporate software piracy with the nation's toughest law."
News roundup: LPB to air Jindal's opening remarks of session live … Schedler in line to lead national association … Fla. sues BP over oil spill environmental damage
Let the games begin:
Louisiana Public Broadcasting will air live coverage of Gov. Bobby Jindal's address to the Joint Session of the Legislature on Monday at 1 p.m., which marks the start of the 2014 legislative session that runs through June 2. Also Monday, LPB's Capital Beat
daily video report on the session will begin, and Daily Report
will once again be featuring the video each afternoon through the session. Daily Report
will also feature a report each afternoon during the session from LaPolitics
' John Maginnis and Jeremy Alford. Taking it national:
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler has been appointed to serve as treasurer of the National Association of Secretaries of State, placing him in line to assume the presidency of the organization in 2015-16. "Many of the innovative initiatives being implemented in Louisiana including the award-winning GeauxVote mobile app, online voter registration and emergency preparedness as it relates to elections are of great interest to other Secretaries of State and their staffs," says NASS President Tre Hargett in a prepared statement.
"One of Tom's best assets is his willingness to share those ideas and information for the betterment of all."All joined up:
Florida has joined a multistate lawsuit stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill seeking to hold British oil company BP accountable for damage to the state's natural resources. The Associated Press reports the complaint was filed Wednesday in Panama City federal court by the state's secretary of environmental protection and the head of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. BP spokesman Geoff Morrell says the company is reviewing Florida's lawsuit and continues to evaluate potential environmental damages caused by the spill. Read the full story.