The High Grove set to begin opening

The first apartments and retailers in The High Grove, a $30 million mixed-use development east of the Mall of Louisiana, are set to begin opening in the next month.

Developers of The High Grove, in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute Louisiana, gave a tour of the project Thursday evening. The 5-acre development will include 192 apartment units and 25,000 square feet of retail and office space.

It’s the first phase of The Grove, which will eventually include 120 acres with everything from a hotel to assisted living facilities.

Chris Papamichael, a principal with The Domain Companies, which is developing High Grove along with Richard Carmouche, said he thinks the project sits on “the best dirt in Baton Rouge.” The High Grove is near Interstate 10 and the Mall of Louisiana. It’s also close to major employment centers such as Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge General Medical Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

The Domain Companies, with offices in New Orleans and New York, teamed up with Carmouche because of the quality products he’s done, Papamichael said, such as the Willow Grove traditional neighborhood development off Perkins Road. This is the first project Domain has done in Baton Rouge.

“We see great opportunities in Baton Rouge over the next few years because of the economy,” he said.

The first 66 apartment units should be open by October. Units in The High Grove will rent from $1,055 a month for a one-bedroom, one-bath unit that is 681 square feet, to $1,725 a month for a two-bedroom, two-bath unit that is 1,119 square feet.

The apartments offer amenities such as access to a saltwater pool, fitness center and a cyber cafe. Photovoltaic cells on top of parking structures will convert sunlight into electricity that will cover 30 percent of the energy usage in the development. The plan is to get the development certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

About 30 percent of the apartments in the first phase are leased, Papamichael said. The tenants are a mix of young families with children and recent college graduates.

The commercial space in The High Grove should be completed by the end of the year. Charlie Colvin, an agent with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate who is marketing the property, said two tenants have committed to the property: The Woodhouse Day Spa and Open Barre, a ballet and yoga studio. Colvin said he’s talking to other potential tenants, such as local and regional restaurant operators. The goal is to bring in businesses that High Grove tenants would want, he said.

Carmouche said The High Grove will have offer another advantage along with its location.

“We’re selling dirt,” he said. “Retailers will be able to buy a site if they want to own property.”