Streetcar line along Nicholson Drive corridor to get federal technical assistance _lowres

Rendering provided to The Advocate -- A streetcar, seen in the background, could tie into a proposed plan for the Nicholson Drive corridor from LSU to downtown Baton Rouge. Two firms have been selected as finalists to redevelop tho old Alex Box Stadium site with student residence halls and retail. LSU officials hope to select which business will head up the public-private partnership in the spring.

The LSU Property Foundation has selected two developer firms as finalists for a public-private partnership to design, build, finance, operate and maintain new student residence halls and other amenities on the former site of Alex Box Stadium.

American Campus Communities and RISE Real Estate will enter in-depth negotiations for the project, with a developer to be selected in the spring.

LSU officials said the Nicholson Gateway will include about 1,260 apartment-style beds, 410 suite-style beds, study areas, meeting space, restaurants and 30,000 to 50,000 square feet of retail space designed to serve residents, campus visitors, faculty and staff.

Rob Stuart, chair of the Nicholson Gateway Development Project Committee, said, “American Campus Communities and RISE Real Estate are recognized leaders in this industry. We appreciate the opportunity to work more closely with these firms and will ultimately choose the best partner to bring this exciting project to fruition for the benefit of the LSU community.”

American Campus Communities, of Austin, Texas, owns and manages five student apartment complexes in Louisiana. Its properties include Burbank Commons, The Cottages of Baton Rouge, U Club Cottages and University Crescent, all near LSU, and Ponchartrain Hall, on the campus of the University of New Orleans. American Campus heads up a project team including Baton Rouge-based Coleman Partners Architects, Lincoln Builders, Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate and Provident Resources; Shreveport-based Shreve Land Constructors; Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas & Co.; and RBC Capital Markets.

RISE Real Estate of Valdosta, Georgia, has several Louisiana properties in its portfolio, including dormitories at Southern University, Grambling State University, McNeese State University and Southern University at Shreveport, along with Baker & Huger Halls, Randolph & Harris Halls and the Rose Garden Community at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. RISE leads a project team including Baton Rouge-based Remson Haley Herpin and Provident Resources Group; The Lemoine Co. and Stirling Properties, both with Baton Rouge offices; Niles Bolton Associates; Stantac; and RBC Capital Markets.

The LSU Property Foundation will contract with the chosen developer, and the developer will then contract directly with its project team members.

During the summer, the LSU Property Foundation sent out a request for proposals to develop the LSU site. Ten firms responded to the request, and the foundation, along with its adviser, Brailsford & Dunlavey/CSRS, narrowed the number down to five. The shortlisted developers were each invited to visit campus on Oct. 13 and Nov. 11 to discuss the project.

Redeveloping the 28-acre Alex Box site has been in the works since the LSU baseball stadium closed in 2008. Over the years, there have been discussions about building all sorts of mixed-use projects on the prime piece of real estate, including a hotel and office space.

LSU officials are working with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and city officials to tie the Nicholson Gateway with other developments along the corridor connecting the university and downtown.