Sale clears way for River Park financing

A 4-acre tract in the proposed River Park mixed-use development was sold to the parent company of Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge for $3.9 million Friday, a step that was needed to get financing for the project.

“This is all a part of us moving ahead on financing,” said Pete Clements, who is developing the 36.3-acre project next to Hollywood Casino. River Park will include restaurants, live-music venues, residences, hotels, a park and a boardwalk along the Mississippi River.

Louisiana Casino Cruises, which has the same mailing address as Hollywood’s parent company, Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., purchased the tract from River Park Development. The transaction was filed Friday morning with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s Office.

Clements said the sale was part of an agreement he had with Penn National Gaming, which spun off Gaming and Leisure Properties, going back to 2008. That agreement cleared the way for Clements to build an underpass that improved access to his riverfront property and Hollywood Casino. The overpass opened in 2011.

“The balance of the property is all in the underpass and the access to the secondary service road,” he said. “Most of it is utility servitudes.”

The Metro Council has reauthorized a tax increment financing district for the $600 million project, which will rebate the 2-cent local sales tax collected in River Park. Clements has said other methods will be used to finance the development.

“Things are moving along,” he said. “It’s going very well.”