Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Land deal holding up commercial real estate redevelopment

Our city is in a constant state of development and redevelopment. At the heart of that expansion and revitalization are business people who are cutting deals to make change happen. Although from a distance these business opportunities seem to fall into place, up close it becomes apparent that they in fact require a lot of work to pull off successfully. This is why in many cases individuals who are engaged in business practices often seek guidance from an attorney who can ensure they are operating in their business's best interests.

A lot of this work is being put into the redevelopment of the former Earl K. Long hospital site. The redevelopment of the 15-acre site was put on hold while investors sought to have it rezoned as a mixed-use development, which they were able to do successfully. Now, though, those same investors are facing another obstacle to redeveloping the property: acquiring the land itself.

The problem arises from the way in which the property can transfer from LSU Health Care Services Division, which currently owns the property, to the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority and eight investors who are interested in assisting with the redevelopment. Under state law, LSU can only sell the property for cash.

At a value of $1.6 million, the developers are finding themselves short without financing. LSU, however, claims that it is unable to sell the property if it is financed. While state legislators work to change the law to allow the sale to occur more easily, those involved in the future redevelopment of the property continue to revisit their master plan for the property as well as memorandums of understanding that will be utilized amongst all the development partners who will be involved in the redevelopment process.

As this case illustrates, commercial real estate issues can be quite complex, oftentimes more so than anticipated. Fortunately, those dealing with issues related to commercial real estate, whether as a buyer, seller, lessor, or lessee, often benefic from seeking out the assistance of a legal advocate who will work for the best outcome possible under the circumstances.

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Baton Rouge, LA 70816

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