Originally published by Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
After Hurricane Katrina, The Foundation teamed with its real estate ally, Commercial Properties Realty Trust, to try and build a mixed-use, mixed-income community that met the demand from a growing population.
The first attempt to build Smiley Heights on 200 acres off Florida Boulevard between and around North Lobdell and North Ardenwood was shelved because of incomplete financing. The Foundation restarted the neighborhood in 2010 with an education focus.
With the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment authority and others, the Foundation negotiated with owners of the property and assembled financing to buy the land. At the same time, the Foundation and the RDA recruited anchors for the Smiley Heights. They are to be an auto training center operated by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and a career high school by EBR Public Schools. Housing, shops and green spaces will fill out the community. Construction should commence by mid-2013.