Downtown Baton Rouge property pitched as swanky site for hotels, restaurants seized, set for sheriff’s auction _lowres

Artist's rendering provided by River Park --The River Park development, north of Hollywood Casino in downtown Baton Rouge, was proposed as a development that would include a hotel, restuarants and residential, retail and commercial space.

A 36.8-acre tract next to Hollywood Casino, which a developer pitched as the site for hotels, residences, two live music venues and more than 18 restaurants, has been seized and is set for a sheriff’s sale later this month.

Pete Clements, who is developing River Park, said he’s “resolving the problem” and doesn’t foresee the sale taking place.

The land was seized April 7 after First NBC Bank of New Orleans said River Park Development LLC owed it about $9.8 million. The River Park site is set for a 10 a.m. auction June 29 in the lobby of City Hall.

According to documents First NBC filed with the 19th Judicial District Court in February, the bank extended a $10 million promissory note to River Park Development in January 2008. The development company was supposed to make regular monthly payments, and the entire amount, plus any interest, was due January 2010. However, the note was modified, most recently in August 2015, when the maturity date was extended to May 2016. River Park and Clements also took out a $200,000 note in June 2015, which was due a month later. That note also was modified in November 2015, when the amount was bumped up to $410,000.

According to the suit, River Park owes nearly $9.4 million on the first note and $408,938 on the second.

Clements has been working on developing River Park for several years, spending millions on the project, including partnering with Hollywood Casino to build a railroad underpass to improve access to the land.

In 2010, the Legislature approved a tax increment financing district for River Park. That would allow a portion of state and local sales taxes collected in the area to be used toward paying development costs.

Clements went before the Downtown Development District in September 2013 to discuss plans for River Park. At the time, he said financing was nearly lined up and a groundbreaking should be held before the end of the year. He said the development would include local and national restaurants, two live music venues, residences, hotels, a park and a boardwalk along the Mississippi River.

“This will be a regional destination,” Clements told the DDD. “You’ll have people coming from 60 to 120 miles for entertainment.”