Juban Crossing, old Woman’s Hospital plans sail through bond commission

With little discussion Thursday, state officials gave final approval to more than $13 million in borrowing for Juban Crossing in Livingston Parish and the old Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge.

The state Bond Commission zipped through the items without calling the projects’ backers up for questioning.

The bond resolution for the Juban Crossing Economic Development District provides up to $8.5 million in revenue for an additional 71,000 square feet of retail space. Bed, Bath and Beyond recently joined the lineup of tenants.

“To date, we have more than 400,000 square feet of the retail center leased, with construction well underway for retailers including Rouse’s, Belk, Academy, Lane Bryant, Old Navy, PetSmart, Ross, Shoe Carnival, T.J. Maxx, Bed Bath & Beyond and Ulta. Anyone who drives by the property can definitely see our vision becoming reality,” said Stephen Keller, a principal with Creekstone Companies.

Creekstone Companies is developing the mixed-use project at Interstate 12 and Juban Road. Stores are expected to begin opening in October.

The $8.5 million in bonds will be repaid with tax dollars. The borrowing will be used for roads, bridges, drainage, canals, ditches, general infrastructure and a debt service reserve fund.

The development will contain Rouses supermarket, Belk department store, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Lane Bryant, Old Navy, PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less, Shoe Carnival, T.J. Maxx and Ulta Beauty. An 11-screen Movie Tavern also wants to locate in Juban. It would allow movie-goers to order hamburgers, pizza, chicken wings, beer, wine and mixed drinks.

State Treasurer John Kennedy noted that no state dollars are involved in Juban Crossing’s bond issue. Only local tax dollars would be diverted to repay the bonds.

Another item before the State Bond Commission on Thursday was aimed at continuing efforts to put the former Woman’s Hospital site back into commerce.

The city-parish purchased the former Woman’s Hospital last year for $10 million to provide a shared headquarters for both city police and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. The hospital sits on a 24-acre campus at Airline Highway and Goodwood Boulevard.

The Sheriff’s Office was in a building that used to house the state Department of Transportation and Development. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux was happy with his quarters. However, the Baton Rouge Police Department was eager to leave its dilapidated building on Mayflower Street.

The state Bond Commission approved $4.6 million in borrowing Thursday to renovate and improve the old Woman’s Hospital. The borrowing will be repaid with existing sales tax revenue.

Gordon King, financial adviser to the city-parish, said the money is needed to retrofit the building.

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