The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority Grant Review Committee approved plans to give a $120,000 grant to help a business owner make improvements to the Choctaw Village Shopping Center.
It will cost $389,300 to scrape and resurface the parking lot, fix broken lights in the parking lot, replace stucco and broken windows and install shade trees, said Susannah Bing, the RDA’s director of finance and economic development.
Myung Choi, who owns the shopping center, has gotten a bank loan to cover the cost of making improvements at Choctaw Village, Bing said. “
For all intents and purposes, he is ready to go,” she said.
The RDA grant would help with some of those costs.
The RDA has spent a couple of years working on plans to fix up Choctaw Village, said Mark Goodson, RDA executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The shopping center has the only grocery store in the neighborhood, a Piggly Wiggly.
“There have been lots of complaints about the appearance and the condition of the shopping center,” Goodson said. “This will help retain the only grocery store operator in the area.”
Piggly Wiggly renewed its lease in Choctaw Village, contingent on improvements being made, Bing said. The grocery store is looking at expanding the Choctaw store, perhaps as soon as in 2014.
The full RDA is set to vote on the grant award at its November meeting, at a date to be determined. Once the RDA votes on approving the award, Bing said she would like to hold a preconstruction meeting that same day to grant the clearance to get the work started.
“In my view, this is almost a slam-dunk,” said Chip Broyles, the RDA’s vice president of administration and programs. “This will make a real difference.”