Written by Alexandria Burris for the Baton Rouge Business Report | June 6, 2017
With Mid City undergoing a renaissance of sorts, the owner of a decades-old car wash at 4550 Government is leasing the property with the intention of converting it into a mixed-use site.
Consultant Perry Franklin says he purchased the self-service car wash about six years ago with the intent of repurposing the property to enhance Government Street. He then held the investment for several years, awaiting the right time to began his project.
Now Franklin is seizing on the opportunity presented by the mixed-used development Square 46, going vertical nearby, and other new businesses opening in the area. Square 46 will bring a mix of residential and office space, as well as a communal food hall called White Star Market to the area. Additionally, Curbside Burgers opened next to Calandro’s in November.
“I feel like this project is a long time coming,” Franklin says. “The market is starting to understand the value of Mid City and Government Street. The development next door—Square 46—is just so encouraging.”
Franklin is the former executive director of the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance and was one of the co-authors of a plan to transform Government Street from four lanes to three with bicycle lanes. He now heads his own public relations and governmental affairs firm.
As Franklin sees it, Government Street and the city’s inner urban core—notably downtown and Mid City—were destined for an uptick of commercial and residential activity. Urban planning has gained a foothold, and the ramifications of suburban sprawl—most notably traffic—is taking a toll on motorists commuting from work to home, he notes.
“It’s a cycle,” Franklin says. “We’re fortunate that urban Baton Rouge is beginning to gain tremendous traction because your edges are declining and people are starting to realize that there’s a working grid in the center of the city.”
Franklin’s property was listed for lease about 90 days ago as build to suit. Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate has the listing. Despite garnering some offers and interest, Franklin says he’s searching for the right tenants and plans to customize the building for their use. In the meantime, preliminary designs have been drafted for a two-story building with 5,000-square-feet on each floor for retail and residential space. Financing is already in place.
“I’m looking for something that’s unique,” Franklin says. “I don’t think Mid City needs a new nail salon.”
Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate is a member of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce (BRAC); the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce; the Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau; the Louisiana Commercial Data Base (LACDB); and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Several agents, on an individual basis, are members of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR), the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM); the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR); and the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® Commercial Investment Division (CID).