Written by Stephanie Riegel for the Baton Rouge Business Report | October 19, 2016

First Bancshares of Hattiesburg, the parent company of The First bank, has acquired the 5,112-square-foot building at 8810 Bluebonnet Blvd. and will be relocating its existing branch at 7054 Jefferson Hwy. to the new location early next year.

In a deal that closed Monday, First Bancshares of Hattiesburg acquired the property, which sits on eight acres, for $1.3 million from Red River Bank, which had previously leased the building to a mortgage servicing group. Mike Stinson and Hank Saurage of Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate brokered the transaction.

The First is expanding its footprint throughout the region, and Monday’s transaction suggests the bank is planning to grow still more in this market.

On Oct. 14, First Bancshares announced it will acquire Iberville Bank of Plaquemine and Gulf Coast Community Bank of Pensacola, Florida—moves that will give the bank 48 locations in four southern states and $1.6 billion in assets. Iberville Bank has 10 branches in Baton Rouge with $259 million in assets.

A spokesperson for First Bankshares did not return multiple calls seeking comment, but the manager of the local The First branch on Jefferson Highway confirms her branch will be relocating as of Jan. 13.

Mike Stinson, a native of Monroe, Louisiana, is a graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU). A real estate licensee since 2004, Mike specializes in the sale and leasing of commercial real estate. A Designee member of the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM), Mike’s other professional memberships include Baton Rouge’s Commercial Investment Division (CID), the LSU Alumni Association, REALTOR Land Institute (RLI), and an affiliate member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Hank Saurage obtained his Real Estate Sales License in 1984, followed shortly thereafter by his Real Estate Broker’s License in 1986. To further expand his business, he then obtained his Real Estate Broker’s License in Mississippi in 1997. In 1990, Hank earned the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation from the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute. He is also a member of the Louisiana Commercial Data Base (LACDB), the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), and the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® Commercial Investment Division (CID).

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).