The old Holsum Bread bakery — which shut down almost three decades ago on Choctaw Drive — could get new life as a housing manufacturing facility, a move that would create about 300 jobs and is being hailed as an economic development win for north Baton Rouge.
Ready Shield Solutions, a firm owned in part by developer Robert Day, plans to open an assembly plant at the former Cotton Brothers Baking Co. factory at North Ardenwood Drive. A spokeswoman for the developer said the facility will create about 300 construction jobs.
Preliminary documents filed with the Louisiana Economic Development department show the facility will involve a $60 million investment.
“This is the type of reinvestment in north Baton Rouge that is the mission and the vision for the district,” said Rinaldi Jacobs, of the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District. “We will continue to work very closely with the team on incentives and any kind of structural support the district can help bring to the table.”
Jacobs said several leaders, including Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s administration and LED, have worked to land the project.
The “initial target” will be to build recovery homes and affordable housing solutions through an “innovative construction technology using high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable materials,” said Sandy Avery, director of real estate operations at R.W. Day and Associates.
The facility will use patent-pending technology involving the use of steel studs and magnesium oxide in place of traditional wood and plasterboard, Avery said. The facility will generate an estimated $46 million in taxes during the first 10 years.
The developer also is seeking tax incentive programs from LED, according to the advance notice, including the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, Restoration Tax Abatement and Quality Jobs program.
Day, who is listed in state business filings as a manager for RS Solutions LLC, is a local real estate developer known for multifamily and student housing projects.
Kansas City-based Cotton Brothers Baking Co. occupied the Choctaw facility, where it made Holsum bread, for more than two decades before closing in 1989. The company was founded in 1923 by the Cotton Brothers — Herbert M. “Hub” and W.F. “Bill” Cotton — in Alexandria. It opened a Baton Rouge branch in 1934 on North 19th Street, then called Dufrocq Street.
The company expanded to the Choctaw Drive location at a cost of $2.5 million in 1962, according to The Advocate archives. The company also had Alexandria and Monroe sites at the time the Baton Rouge facility closed in 1989.