Written by Stephanie Riegel for the Baton Rouge Business Report | September 6, 2017

Downtown is poised to get its first climate-controlled storage facility in the coming months.

In late August, attorney Craig Smith acquired the original Community Coffee roasting facility just north of the State Capitol, and plans to develop a CubeSmart on the nearly 2.3-acre site.

Smith, through his Brookwood-Riverside LLC, paid $775,000 to Community Coffee Company for the nearly 80-year-old building, which has been vacant for two years. He plans to demolish the facility in the next couple of weeks to make way for a three-story, climate controlled storage facility, according to broker Mark Hebert of Kurz & Hebert Commercial Real Estate, who represented Smith in the transaction.

Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate represented the seller.

“You hate to tear down an old building, but it was functionally obsolete,” Hebert says.  

The property’s location near the Mississippi River and just north of downtown, with its growing number of new residential complexes, makes it an attractive site for a storage facility, Hebert says.

“There isn’t any competition in the downtown market for something like this, and as downtown continues to grow with more residents, people are going to be looking for places to store their things,” he says. “Also, a lot of offices need climate-controlled storage for their files, so it makes sense to be as close to downtown as you get.”

The transaction marks the second land deal in as many months on that block. In late July, Chad Ortte and Duncan Armentor acquired a 4.7-acre tract with more than 80,000 square feet of industrial and office space across North Third Street from Smith’s new property. The cousins paid $960,000 for the property, which they acquired as an investment.

CubeSmart, a Malvern, Pennsylvania-based company, is the fourth-largest owner and operator of self-storage facilities in the U.S., with some 900 facilities around the country.

Smith is among their franchisees, and has locations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, including a new one under construction in Prairieville, Hebert says.

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).