Construction on new downtown apartments The Lofts @ 6C set to begin _lowres

Renderings courtesy of JOHN O. HEARIN -- Construction is set to begin in the summer on The Lofts @ 6C, a mixed-use development at Florida and North Sixth streets in Baton Rouge. Developer John O. Hearin told Downtown Development District commissioners Tuesday that The Lofts will consist of 142 apartments and about 3,000 square feet of retail space. The timetable for building the development is 18 months, which means The Lofts should be open by early 2018.

Construction will begin in July or August on The Lofts @ 6C, a mixed-use development at Florida and North Sixth streets in Baton Rouge.

Developer John O. Hearin told Downtown Development District commissioners Tuesday that The Lofts will have 142 apartments and about 3,000 square feet of retail space. The timetable for development is 18 months, which means an opening by early 2018.

Several potential tenants have asked about space in the building, Hearin said, including a restaurant, design studio and a “service-type business.”

The Lofts will be a six-story development, with about 260 parking spots taking up the first two floors. Plans are to have between 50 to 60 spaces dedicated for public parking.

There will be 58 one-bedroom and 84 two-bedroom units, ranging in size from 700 square feet to 1,100 square feet and renting for between $900 to $1,800 a month. Hearin said that figure includes utilities, but not the tenant parking fee, projected to be about $100 a month.

Amenities include two landscaped courtyards, one of which will feature a pool and a clubhouse, along with an area for bicycle storage and repair.

The Planning Commission approved a site plan for The Lofts last month.

Hearin the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave preliminary approval last summer for financing The Lofts through its 221(d)(4) multifamily loan program, the same way nearby Commerce Building redevelopment was financed. The final financing package should be submitted to HUD next week for final approval, he said.

There’s been a boom in apartment construction downtown in recent years. In 2015, the 440 on Third and 525 Lafayette developments opened, adding 150 units. Another 176 units are currently under construction in five apartment developments: the 93-unit Commerce Building redevelopment at Laurel and Third that is set to begin opening on March 30; the 24-unit Maritime One Building, across from the Baton Rouge River Center; the 28-unit Onyx Residences at the corner of Third and Convention streets; the 25-unit Beauregard Quarters development at Napoleon and America; and the redevelopment of the Saltz Building at 442 Main, which will add six units.

In other business, construction should start next week on a $250,000 project to improve the streetscape along Florida and Lafayette streets. The work will involve removing unhealthy trees, repairing sidewalks and planting islands on the outside of awnings on the portion of Florida between River Road and Third Street and Lafayette from Main to Convention streets.

Gabe Vicknair, assistant executive director for the DDD, said Hard Rock Construction of Metairie has a contract to complete the work in 120 days. The project is being paid for with a rebate of state sales taxes, dedicated for riverfront improvements, Vicknair said.

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