Jindal administration has scrapped plans to sell Capitol Park Welcome Center, parking garage _lowres

Advocate file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The Capitol Park Welcome Center is on North River Road near the State Capitol.

The Jindal administration scratched plans to sell property in the State Capitol complex.

Division of Administration spokeswoman Meghan Parrish confirmed the decision Wednesday.

The administration initially sought legislative approval to sell the Capitol Park Welcome Center and an adjacent parking garage.

The two properties had been appraised for $11.4 million.

But the plans ran into some resistance from legislators who questioned the sale of prime property so close to the Capitol.

The Welcome Center, 702 River Road, is on a historically significant site. It is next door to the Pentagon Barracks, which is on the National Historic Register.

The 4,242-square-foot Welcome Center — opened in 2007 — includes a theater space, meeting space and a patio with room for up to 600 people. Total costs ran about $5.08 million.

Under state law, the House and Senate Natural Resources Committees had to declare the property surplus before any sale could occur.

The House panel tabled the idea at one meeting, then pulled it from its agenda at a subsequent session. The Senate panel never brought it up.

As opposition surfaced, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said the state was rethinking the sale of the little-used Welcome Center and considering other options.

At the time, Nichols said the sale of the parking garage could move forward alone. Now that idea has been dropped.

“We have decided not to pursue the sale of the garage,” Parrish said.

The administration has promised 300 free parking spaces to IBM in the structure.

The agreement had been cited in the appraisal document as a potential wrinkle to any sale.

Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter, @MarshaShulerCNB. For more coverage of the State Capitol, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.