B.R. hotel bill advances

The House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee quickly endorsed the Senate-passed measure. The next step is action by the full House.

Senate Bill 648 would create the Old LNB Building Redevelopment District as a special tax incremental financing district. Certain hotel and sales taxes generated from the development would be used toward project financing.

TIFs are popular ways to help pay for development. They divert tax revenue, allowing developers to use the proceeds to fund the development.

In this case, developer Mike Wampold will use a TIF to renovate a nearly century old building, 12-story building on Third Street into a 146 room hotel.

“We don’t have enough rooms in the downtown area” to attract large conventions, bill sponsor state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge. The proposed hotel would help provide the needed capacity, she said.

State Rep. Roy Burrell, D-Shreveport, said TIFs are an excellent way to get “buildings back into commerce” in the inner city.

State Rep. Steve Pugh, R-Pontchatoula, noted that Wampold got another TIF for the Renaissance Hotel development on Bluebonnet Boulevard which he called “a success.”