Downtown Development Continues In Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The transformation of downtown Baton Rouge, which kicked into high gear in 2013 with the news that IBM planned to build a software development center at the site of the old Advocate building, continued throughout 2014.

         The IBM Building and adjoining 525 Lafayette apartment building steadily went up during the year.

         The Advocate reports IBM is on track to open its offices by April or May, and the 85-unit apartment building will be open by the end of 2015.

         Plans also were submitted for a row of five luxury townhomes that will go up along the Main Street side of the block; if all goes well, construction should start on those in the spring.

         The 440 on Third mixed-use building also took shape during 2014. The 65 luxury apartments in the old Capital One bank building are now ready for tenants, and the long-awaited Matherne's Supermarket that will anchor the development is set to open Monday.

         USAgencies announced during the year that it would move its local operations and take up the top two floors of the development; those 120 employees are expected to be in place by Feb. 1.

         Next door to 440 on Main is the Commerce Building, which got financing for its redevelopment and started the work in 2014. The 93-unit apartment building, which will feature a rooftop restaurant, is set to open in late 2015.

         Construction finally started on the Onyx Residences, a $7 million mixed-use development that will be built downtown at the corner of Third and Convention streets. Work on the development, which will contain 28 luxury apartments and retail space, was delayed to allow for shooting of the upcoming "Fantastic Four" movie.

         Across Third Street from the Onyx is the old State Office Building, which developer Mike Wampold bought in the spring. Wampold plans to turn the 12-story art deco building into a 146-room hotel.

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