Research Park to vote on sale of Bon Carré

The Research Park Corp.’s board of directors is set to meet Nov. 21 and vote on the potential sale of its interest in the Bon Carré Business Center.

The board was originally set to meet July 18 to vote on the sale. That meeting was postponed July 17.

At that time, Eddie Ashworth, a board member and former CEO of the organization’s tech park in Bon Carré, said the documents for the sale could not be completed in order to give them to board members ahead of the meeting.

The meeting will be held at noon Nov. 21 in the Louisiana Technology Park.

Research Park Corp. owns about a 25 percent share of the business center.

Ashworth has said the organization wants to get out of the business of being real estate investors.

If the sale goes through, its stake in Bon Carré will be divided among the other owners: the Wilbur Marvin Foundation, a nonprofit that holds most of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s real estate assets; John Noland, a former owner of the All Star Automotive Group who serves as chairman of the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority; Real E Tech Investments, a company led by Terrell Brown, the chairman of the board of directors; and Gulf Coast BIDCO, a business and industrial development corporation that provides working capital for young technology firms.

The Wilbur Marvin Foundation owns the biggest share of Bon Carré, at 51 percent. If the sale goes through, it will own 63 percent of the business center.

Bon Carré Business Center’s 850,000 square feet is 90 percent occupied, according to Commercial Properties Realty Trust, which manages the property. About 4,000 people work in the center for tenants such as Cox Communications, data center operator Venyu, URS, an engineering and construction firm, and GMFS, a mortgage company headed by Brown.

Research Park Corp. acquired the financially ailing former mall development in 2003 — selling a $6 million stake in the property to six local investors, while holding onto a $2 million interest in Bon Carré.