Downtown BR Raising Cane’s to open in summer

Construction has started on a Raising Cane’s restaurant at Third and Florida streets, that is set to open in the summer.

The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will have a unique design, specifically to reflect downtown Baton Rouge, said Julie Perrault, a spokeswoman for Raising Cane’s. Plans are to hire 40 people to work in the restaurant. The restaurant will not have a drive-through window, but it will offer carry-out or dine-in service.

Raising Cane’s will take up the first floor of the 11,000-square-foot Richoux’s building, which is being renovated by MAPP Construction. The building is best known for the neon Coca-Cola sign on the roof, which will remain.

There has been talk about Raising Cane’s opening a restaurant downtown for several years, ever since the company moved corporate offices to the One American Place building in 2006.

Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District, said he’s pleased that a homegrown success story like Raising Cane’s is setting up a location downtown.

“We’re just completely excited and grateful,” Rhorer said. “They’re going into one of the most visible intersections in the city that has been vacant for several years now.”

State and historic tax credits will be used to cover the cost of renovating the old Richoux’s building.

Michael Crouch, who bought the building in April 2013 for $1.2 million, said plans are being finalized to put three “concierge-style apartments” in the building. While there had been earlier talk about one of the tenants being a restaurant or bar with rooftop seating, Crouch said those plans have been dropped because of engineering constraints.

The renovation of the Richoux’s building is one of nine redevelopment projects either underway or in the planning stages for Third Street.

A company set up by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation completed a $10.25 million purchase Wednesday of the State Office Building at 150 Third St. The State Office Building is across Third Street from The Onyx building, which is being redeveloped by Commercial Properties Realty Trust, which manages and develops BRAF’s property holdings. Plans are to have 28 one- and two-bedroom apartments built above 5,600 square feet of commercial space. Financing has been secured to turn The Commerce Building into a mixed-use property with about 92 loft apartments, a private events deck and a rooftop restaurant. Work has started on 440 on Third, which will turn the former Capital One Bank building into an apartment/office building with a Matherne’s Supermarket on the ground floor.