The 525 Lafayette apartment building, which is next to the IBM building downtown, opened over the weekend.
Tina Rance, a spokeswoman for Commercial Properties Realty Trust, which developed 525 Lafayette and the IBM offices, told Downtown Development District commissioners Tuesday that people started moving into the luxury apartment building over the Labor Day weekend.
525 Lafayette has 85 apartments. Rance said the building is about 50 percent occupied.
In other business, Commissioner Gordon LeBlanc Jr. discussed his plans to redevelop 640 Main St., the old Butler Furniture building, into office space. LeBlanc bought the building last year for $530,000.
Plans are to have the work completed by the end of the year. Chenevert Architects will move from its location at 315 Third St. and take up about 5,000 square feet. There will be two 1,200-square-foot offices available for lease.
LeBlanc also owns the Liberto Building at 626 Main St. He told commissioners that he plans to redevelop that space in three or four years once some leases on the property run out.
Gabe Vicknair, assistant executive director for the DDD, discussed an enterprise zone swap that allowed Matherne’s Market to get some tax incentives for its downtown grocery store.
Vicknair said downtown has been designated as an economic development zone since 1995. But a portion of the neighborhood that includes Matherne’s wasn’t designated as an enterprise zone, meaning that a grocery store with more than 100 employees couldn’t claim tax credits. The tax credits allow Matherne’s to get $2,500 per employee and a 4 percent rebate on building materials it purchased.
Because state law limits the number of enterprise zones in a parish, the DDD worked with Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker to move a zone south of LSU into downtown. Vicknair said the zone was underutilized because it was along a section of Burbank Drive that is primarily zoned residential.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.