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January 11, 2013

LSU Master Plan Proposes to Redevelop Nicholson Drive Corridor, Spend Up to $200M

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Louisiana State University (LSU), one of the economic driving forces in Baton Rouge, announced a new plan that could make a difference in the Nicholson Drive Corridor, if not the city. According to a report by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, LSU’s Department of Residential Life has submitted a master plan for the project to the LSU Board of Supervisors. The master plan could go on the board’s agenda as soon as Feb. 1.

Though few details have been released, the proposed master plan could cost between $140 million and $200 million and would create not only thousands of new student housing units, but hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial space. The multi-phase project would raze the outdated Alex Box Stadium and replace it with a mixed-use development with street-level retail topped by residential housing. North of the stadium, LSU’s married student housing would also be demolished, and replaced with three residential-only structures and much-needed surface parking. It is estimated that 130,000 square feet of retail, 110,000 square feet of office space, surface parking an about 1,200 multifamily units would be created. The residential element of project would mostly target LSU’s student body, but a proposed 89 units could rent at market rate and house LSU staff and faculty members. The idea of a streetcar line has also been brought up.

According to the same report, if the project is green-lit, it could start as early as 2014, and the first phase of development, containing mixed-use, as well as residential-only structures, could be finished in 2015-2016. The entire project could wrap up in 2017 or 2018. LSU has yet to decide if it plans to develop and manage the project on its own or enter a partnership with a private developer or foundation.

Los Angeles-based AECOM, a global provider of professional technical and management support services helped in creating the redevelopment plan, after public and stakeholder meetings.

The news was received with mostly positive feedback from students and alumni of LSU, as well as the general Baton Rouge population, garnering several hundred likes and dozens of comments in only a few days on LSU’s Facebook page.

Image courtesy of LSU’s Facebook page

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