Research Park Corp. could sell stake in Bon Carre

The Research Park Corp. board of directors is set to vote next month on selling off its interest in the Bon Carre Business Center development on Florida Boulevard.

Tax-funded Research Park Corp. acquired the financially ailing former mall development in 2003 — selling a $6 million stake in the property to six local investors, while holding onto a $2 million interest in Bon Carre.

The RPC sent out an agenda for its July 18 meeting on Monday, with one of the items to approve the sale of all of the organization’s interest in Bon Carre.

Last month the RPC board held a closed-door meeting to discuss a proposal related to real estate transactions. Board members took no action after coming out of the executive session, which lasted more than an hour.

Attorney Charles Landry, who participated in the executive session, said the RPC board has been working on an agreement with Bon Carre Business Center to transfer its interest in the property and use the money for other projects.

The not-for-profit Research Park Corp. gained control of the troubled project from a consortium of banks in late 2002.

In addition to its transaction at the time, Research Park Corp. also provided the ownership group with a $3 million loan for Bon Carre’s completion.

Separately, Cox Communications spent $2 million for the old Montgomery-Ward building at Bon Carre in order to move its workers there.

Some officials had criticized the tax-funded organization for becoming an owner and landlord for Bon Carre.

Research Park Corp. runs the Louisiana Technology Park at Bon Carre. The park includes a business incubator that nurtures young technology companies. It is closely aligned with a computer data center that the state poured millions of dollars into to lure high-tech companies that do business via the Internet.