The final selection of a firm to redevelop the Entergy site at 1509 Government St. should be made by June, officials told the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority on Thursday.
Alex Joyce, a principal with Fregonese Associates, the Portland, Oregon-based group hired by the RDA to write the request for proposals for the redevelopment of the Mid City site, told the group he expects there will be competitive bids for the 6.1-acre property.
“We’re going to have a real choice on our hands,” Joyce said. Fregonese has been aggressively marketing the property to architects and developers, and the “response has been really competitive and good.”
John Southgate, of Southgate Consulting in Oregon, who is working with Fregonese on the Entergy site, said he would be “shocked” if there weren’t three to four solid responses.
Fregonese has created a website promoting the Entergy site to potential developers with background information on the property, including details about zoning and easements. Those interested in the property can fill out a request for expressions of interest.
The deadline for filling out requests to redevelop the site is April 28. After that, a select team appointed by Fregonese of five to seven people will review the applications and make recommendations to the RDA. The RDA will interview a short list of finalists and make a choice.
The goal is to select a team with a compelling vision for the Entergy site and a track record of successful developments of a similar nature, Southgate said. Applicants will be able to share confidential financial records to show they have the ability to redevelop the property.
The plan is to build a mixed-income, mixed-use development on the Entergy property that will serve as a catalyst for the redevelopment of Mid City. That would include a balance of market-rate and affordable housing, along with retail and office space. The total value of the development is pegged at between $25 million to $35 million.
“It’s an exciting prospect,” said John Noland, chairman of the RDA board of directors. “I can see that some of these really creative people who understand modern architecture are going to be really able to put something on the board that’s going to really be exciting and transform this Entergy site to something that’s going to be a spark for that part of town.”
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