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The Bon Carre Business Center on Florida Boulevard attracted a bid of $30.5 million in an online auction. It was not made clear afterward by the auction company as to who made the bid, or if the bid met the reserve price and was accepted.

An online auction for the Bon Carré Business Center on Florida Boulevard ended with a final bid of $30.5 million. 

It was not immediately clear who made the bid, or if the $30.5 million bid met the reserve price and was accepted. Brian Gonzalez, of Ten-X Commercial, which ran the auction, said the results were "unofficial" and referred comment to a spokeswoman, who could not be reached.

The business park was put up for auction through Ten-X Commercial, a California-based company, on Nov. 5, and it lasted until around noon on Wednesday. The online auction began with a $12 million minimum bid.

The center, which has 712,920 rentable square feet on Florida Boulevard, was transferred back to the lender earlier this year after the previous owner defaulted on a $41.5 million loan taken out in 2007. The previous owner, a division of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, owed $39.5 million on the principal when it defaulted in December.

Bon Carré lists a 67.4 percent occupancy rate, and net operating income of nearly $2.9 million a year. The center’s occupancy has fallen from the 90 percent rate it posted in 2011, and net income peaked at nearly $4.9 million in 2012.

Officials have blamed downsizing by long-term tenants for its drop in occupancy. Venyu, AECOM and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana are some of the existing tenants. State Farm, which has an operations center there, recently said it would leave the center at the end of the year and lay off 47 workers.

U.S. Bank National Association, the trustee for the Bon Carré lender, acquired the property through a U.S. Marshals Services sale in August.

Bon Carré was transformed from the former Bon Marché mall, which lost retail tenants to Cortana Mall down the road in the 1990s.

The previous owners put the business center up for sale in 2016, but attracted only one buyer who made an offer that was lower than the amount of the loan. Real estate observers have said the property is attractive in part because of favorable lease rates and because it is located in an Opportunity Zone, a new program that gives tax breaks to investors putting money into poorer areas. 

The state enterprise zone program expired and raised the previous owners' tax bill, something a representative for the owner cited as a reason for the default. 

In the meantime, Beau Box Commercial Real Estate has handled leasing and property management, and the center is expected to continue to operate in its current use while the ownership changes. 


Follow Sam Karlin on Twitter, @samkarlin.