BATON ROUGE, LA - Developer Domain Cos. made its first local play, breaking ground on the 198-unit Residences at High Grove. The $28-million multifamily commercial real estate project, located close to the 1.6-million-square-foot Mall of Louisiana, will also include 25,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, dubbed Boutiques at High Grove.
"We're targeting more local and regional retailers who want to have a presence outside of the mall in a more pedestrian-oriented environment," explains Domain principal Matt Schwartz. Helping in the Domains' endeavor is The Boulevard, Louisiana Mall's CRE lifestyle/entertainment component. "Our site is the next site in that progression," Schwartz says. Residences at High Grove will be located just off Interstate 10, and just east of the mall, with complete set for July, 2013.
The project is being financed with $5 million in private equity and a $23 million loan from HUD's 221D4 program arranged by Oak Grove Capital in Dallas. The general contractor for the project is ICI Construction of Dallas. The project architect is Humphreys and Partners, also of Dallas. John Moss of Retail Specialists in New Orleans is handling leasing for Boutiques at High Grove.
The Domain Cos. has offices in New York and New Orleans. Schwartz says the New Orleans office has been open for about six years, but the Baton Rouge project has taken about 2.5 years to get off the ground. "We've been busy with our pipeline in New Orleans during the past several years," Schwartz tells GlobeSt.com, "now we're focused on opportunities here (in Baton Rouge)."
Schwartz explains that Baton Rouge has been able to survive the economic downturn because it is both the state capital and home to Louisiana State University. Furthermore, he goes on to say, Baton Rouge has attracted many bio science and medical research organizations, thanks to the university. With all of this, "the housing market has remained fairly tight in Baton Rouge," Schwartz says. "We saw an opportunity to deliver new product at the upper end of the spectrum."
Schwartz also says Residences at High Grove will be the first of many commercial real estate projects for Domain Cos. "We feel it will be a market where we'll be active for some time," he adds.
Residences at High Grove will offer one- and two-bedroom units, along with a cyber café, a chef's kitchen, media center, fitness center, theater, tanning room and meeting room. The project will target LEED Silver Certification.