Maritime One converting to downtown apartments

The Maritime One Building, a longtime Beauregard Town office building, has been sold for $1.1 million to a Hammond investor who plans to convert the property to upscale apartments.

Darryl Smith bought the nearly 100-year-old building at 101 France St. in a deal that was filed with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s Office on Tuesday. The sellers were several members of the Cohn and Rosenthal families, who gave home addresses in New Orleans, Metairie, New York and Philadelphia.

Julie Ferris, of Re/Max First, who represented the sellers, said the plan is to remodel the building, turning the first floor into a parking garage and the second and third floors into apartments. The building is 35,000 square feet.

The exact details of the remodeling are not known. Smith did not return a phone call Tuesday. Ferris said she thinks there will be 24 apartments in the building.

The building was originally a warehouse and was later converted into office space. It was part of the Catfish Town retail and restaurant development in the 1980s. Most recently, the Louisiana Economic Development Department had offices in the property.

While the building has been vacant for a few years, Ferris said, “the bones are good.”

Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District, said he was pleased to see the Maritime One Building going back into commerce, “especially as residential.”

“We’ll have more people living in the central business district,” Rhorer said.

The Maritime One Building has “a great view” of the Mississippi River, making it an ideal location for an upscale apartment development, Rhorer said. It’s also close to the Water Campus, a $45 million research center that will be built on the old Baton Rouge City Docks.

“The momentum downtown keeps rolling,” Rhorer said.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.