Baton Rouge hotel finance plan gets OK from Louisiana Senate

The Louisiana Senate endorsed legislation Monday that would help with development of downtown Baton Rouge hotel at Convention and Third Streets.

The Senate voted 34-5 for a bill that would divert a portion of sales or hotel taxes for several decades to pay for renovation of an old state office building into a 146-room hotel.

The legislation would create the Old LNB Building Redevelopment District as a special tax incremental financing district, called TIF. TIFs divert tax revenue, allowing developers to use the proceeds to fund projects.

Developer Mike Wampold is behind the deal.

An analysis by the Legislative Auditor’s Office outlines how the TIF would work if the hotel generates $611,000 in sales and hotel tax revenue a year, as expected. The development would keep $335,000. The city-parish would get $276,000 in dedicated tax revenue.The development also could charge additional taxes.

Senate Bill 648 sponsored by state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, now heads to the House for debate.

Dorsey-Colomb said there is a need for additional hotel rooms in the area close to the River Center which hosts conventions.

Dorsey-Colomb assured state Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, that there were no plans to expand the TIF beyond the one building.