- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council is expected to vote this month on whether to approve two taxing districts for downtown hotels.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1H9oZWx) plans call for a Holiday Inn Express in the old Baton Rouge Savings and Loan Building and a Courtyard by Marriott that will be built on an empty lot.

Developers of both projects are seeking tax increment financing districts which are popular financing tools in which an entity takes out a loan to pay for construction and then uses sales tax rebates to pay down the loan.

The combination of the two new hotels will bring downtown Baton Rouge’s total hotel room count to more than 1,000, which has been a goal of city leaders since a 2008 study showed a market demand for about 1,100 rooms in the area. The Holiday Inn will have 89 rooms, and the Marriott will have about 140.

The two new hotels are seeking a rebate of the 2 percent sales tax on rooms from East Baton Rouge Parish government. The creation of the taxing districts also allows both hotels to levy an additional 2-cent sales tax on rooms and goods sold that will help offset their costs.

Charles Landry, an attorney representing Windsor Aughtry Co., which is developing the Marriot hotel, said the public subsidy is an investment in a quality project on what he said is the most prominent corner in downtown Baton Rouge.

“It’s right in the heart of downtown,” Landry said.

The hotel, which will be built on what is a parking lot, also will have a seating area for the public and a coffeehouse.

Landry noted the developer is opting to offset some of his own costs by imposing the additional 2-cent sales tax.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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