The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority will consider allocating its final $8.1 million in New Markets Tax Credits to The Emerge Center for Communication, Behavior & Development.
Formerly the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation, the center will offer therapies for children and adults with communications disorders.
The organization, which has been publicly raising funds for the new, larger center since January, changed its name because its services shifted to focus on autistic children.
Plans are to relocate the center from its longtime home at 535 W. Roosevelt Ave. to the LSU Innovation Park on GSRI Road. The 26,000-square-foot center, twice the size of the existing one and capable of serving three times as many families, will be built early next year and doors will open in 2014.
Mark Goodson, vice president of the RDA, said the total value of the project is $8.1 million, roughly 20 percent of which would be funded by the proceeds from the $8.1 million in tax credits if an RDA committee approves it Thursday.
The tax credit had previously been allocated to the redevelopment of the Prince Murat Hotel on Nicholson Drive and then to Circa 1857’s effort to put 30 artist lofts, retail and community arts space adjacent to the Government Street antiques and artisans market. Circa also planned to make streetscape improvements on the nearby block anchored by the Darensbourg building.
Goodson said the Circa project, for which co-owner Danny McGlynn recently secured financing, won’t be moving forward quickly enough to take advantage of the credits. He said it, like the redevelopment of the Prince Murat, remain worthy projects and could be considered again if the RDA is awarded another round of credits.
He said the RDA has requested from the U.S. Treasury Department $82 million in tax credits for the next round. It received no credits from the previous allotment, announced earlier this year.
The Speech and Hearing Foundation was established 50 years ago to assist children who were deaf or hearing-impaired. Through the years, it has expanded its services to include speech and language evaluations, individual speech therapy, educational-based group language therapy and an intensive, early intervention therapy program for children with autism.