Art gallery owner Ann Connelly and her husband Paul have purchased a 2.81-acre tract at the intersection of Jefferson Highway and Lobdell Boulevard to build a development for art, design and lifestyle businesses.

The Connellys bought the land in two transactions totaling $1.94 million that were filed with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court’s Office on Monday. The sellers were the Adams-Meyer families and Adams-Manship Inc. The deal includes a 9,000-square-foot building and undeveloped land around the site.

Connelly said the development will be called “Studio Park” and it will be anchored by a new location for her gallery and the existing Anne James Hair Salon.

“We think this is a perfect little infill development,” Connelly said. The development will be a “creative enclave” nestled among Live Oak trees.

Studio Park is in the middle of the recently certified Bocage Cultural District, which stretches from the intersection of Lobdell and Sevenoaks Avenue to the intersection of Jefferson and Brandon Drive. Certified cultural districts use tax credits and sales tax exemptions on the purchase of original works of art to stimulate arts development.

Connelly said the Bocage district has the same feel as the Perkins Road Cultural District, which was formed in 2009. She started her gallery around the Perkins Road Overpass before moving into the Southdowns Village Shopping Center. “There are similar things happening in other parts of the city,” she said. “We want to re-create them in another area.”

Plans are to begin construction within the next year on a new 8,000-square-foot building on the property. “We are in the process of working with architects and planning this right now,” Connelly said.

The Connellys are talking to several creative businesses about moving into the development, and land will be available for both lease and purchase. Up to 22,000 square feet of new space can be built.

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