Filling empty downtown storefronts; DDD, BRAC want to help

(file photo)

The Downtown Development District and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber will work to identify vacant downtown storefronts and any impediments to bringing those locations back into commerce, the DDD’s executive director says. 

The groups also plan to recruit businesses to fill those storefronts, with a focus on local and minority-owned companies, Whitney Hoffman Sayal adds. The DDD is carrying over $308,000 that wasn’t spent last year due to staff vacancies to help support the effort along with other projects planned for this year. 

Also discussed at today’s DDD meeting:

  • The Capital Region Planning Commission has launched “Commuter Krewe,” an effort to partner with area businesses and encourage car and van pooling to alleviate traffic amid construction projects. A free Commuter Krewe smartphone app is available; you can get more information by calling 225-344-RIDE or emailing [email protected]
  • Work has begun to convert the former Holiday Inn Express to an Origin Hotel, which will be a boutique hotel with a full restaurant. The work is expected to be finished in August or September. 

The DDD has tapped consultant Phillip LaFargue to lead the process to create downtown’s newest strategic plan that will help guide the DDD’s efforts over the next five years.

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