Senior housing development with mix of affordable and market rate apartments planned for Gardere area

Originally published by The Advocate

A senior housing development is being planned for Gardere Lane, with the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority’s development arm billing the project as a way to help vulnerable seniors, especially those affected by the August floods, while the parish experiences rental housing dearth.

The development, which local officials hope will address the tight rental market and community members hope will be a boon for the troubled Gardere area, will include both affordable and market-rate apartments and will be called Cypress at Gardere.

The nonprofit Partners Southeast development firm, which works with the Housing Authority, recently acquired the property at 515 Gardere Lane near Highland Road from Chase Bank for $450,000.

The four-story complex is being planned for 88 one-bedroom apartments and 11 two-bedroom apartments. Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 and finish about a year later.

“Our focus continues to be on our most vulnerable population, and seniors are that, especially post-flood,” said J. Daniels, the chief operating officer for Partners Southeast.

The complex will back up to Bayou Fountain. Although some neighborhoods around the bayou flooded in August, Daniels said the property where the apartment is being planned did not flood, nor did the adjacent Louisiana Soccer Association property.

Still, he said development’s elevation will be raised by 18 to 24 inches, just in case.

Daniels said the Cypress at Gardere is the first senior development Partners Southeast has taken on, and they hope to use it as a model for future developments.

Monika Gerhart, City Hall’s Office of Community Development director, said Baton Rouge was already experiencing a housing crisis before the floods wiped out roughly 13,000 rental units in August. And close to half of Baton Rouge’s renters at that point were spending 30 percent of their income on rent.

By February, the rental vacancy rate in Baton Rouge was down from its usual 7 percent to 3 to 4 percent, multifamily real estate appraiser Craig Davenport then told The Advocate.

“This is going to contribute to this badly needed mix of housing units,” Gerhart said of Cypress at Gardere.

Gardere community advocates also applauded the apartment complex, saying it can be one factor that helps to turn around the mostly low-income community marked by pockets of crime and blight.

Juan Cruz, a public health planner who advocates with the Gardere community, said the neighborhood is still trying to connect with the rest of the city, as forthcoming sidewalks and bike paths should entwine Gardere with other neighborhoods.

He also worried the complex might continue a trend of rental housing cluttering Burbank Drive over the past few years. The complexes on Burbank are mostly geared toward LSU students.

Still, Cruz said, Baton Rouge needs more senior housing, and the Cypress at Gardere development should have a “ripple effect.”

Murelle Harrison, executive director of the Gardere Initiative that tries to combat substance abuse and other social ills that affect the neighborhood, said Gardere is “moving in the direction we want to go.” She said she recently met with BREC about an upcoming $350,000 renovation for the Hartley-Vey Gardere park. 

BREC will meet with people who live in the neighborhood to determine what new features the park will receive as part of the renovation, BREC spokesman Cheryl Michelet said.

“As we work to improve the community, we need to look at all age groups,” Harrison said. “Our focus has been mostly on the younger children and their families, but I do realize there are older people in the community that need a safe place and a healthy place.”

Daniels said it has not yet been determined how many apartments will be affordable or market-rate. But all people interested in living there will apply through the same manner — directly on-site or through the management company — and the management company will then determine who qualifies for an apartment at a lower price.

The planning of the development was done with seniors and their possible mobility issues in mind, he said. On its 4 acres, Cypress at Gardere may include a salon, a library, a theater room, a fitness room, walking trails and more.

The development also will be on the Capital Area Transit System bus line to help seniors who do not have cars or no longer drive, Daniels said.

CATS’ route 46 travels through Gardere Lane, and the route is bookended by the Mall of Louisiana and L’Auberge Casino and Hotel. The bus route also makes stops at Baton Rouge General Medical Center-Bluebonnet and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

Construction of the senior development is expected to cost around $17 million. The construction team includes CORE Construction and Legette Construction, with Legette qualifying as a minority owned business. People interested in construction jobs for building the complex can attend a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in room 313 of Southern University’s T.T. Allain Hall, or call Tyrone Legette at (504)340-0616.


Senior housing complex planned for Gardere Lane near Highland Road

Originally published by Baton Rouge Business Report

The development arm of the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority is planning to develop a 99-unit senior housing complex on a 4.5-acre site on Gardere Lane between Highland Road and Burbank Drive.

The Cypress at Gardere, as the planned development will be called, will consist of 88 one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom units in a single, four-story building at 515 Gardere Lane.  The EBRHA acquired the property earlier this month from Chase Bank for $450,000.

The agency’s nonprofit development firm, recently rebranded as Partners Southeast, is spearheading the project. The firm was formerly known as Partners for Progress.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide our senior residents with this first-class housing community surrounded by attractive neighborhood amenities,” says Partners Southeast Chief Operating Officer J. Daniels, adding the estimated cost of the project will be around $17 million.

The Cypress at Gardere will include a mixture of market rate and affordable housing units. Daniels says no determination has been on the breakdown between the two categories, or on whether the complex will be open to adults over age of 55 or only those 62 and older.

“We’re still figuring all that out,” he says. “It’s early in the process.”

Partners Southeast has selected a joint venture of CORE Construction Services and Legette Construction to be construction manager. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year, with completion scheduled for early 2019. Partners Southeast will solicit proposals from property management firms in the coming months, Daniels says.

The site on which the complex will be developed is zoned C-1, or light commercial, under which senior housing is allowed, meaning the project does not need to go before the Planning Commission for zoning approval.

The complex will feature a two-story lobby entrance, a community room with kitchen, salon, library/business center, theater room, fitness room and walking trails.

Year Completed

Planned Fall 2022


Senior | Units: 99


Integral Property Management



Cypress at Pinchback

501 Gardere Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Located behind St. Jude off Highland Road, close to great shopping and restaurants this tranquil and modern new construction community offers modern one- and two-bedroom apartments for seniors 62 years and older. Apartments are ADA compliant and come with a dishwasher and washer and dryer hook-up. Amenities include an exercise room, computer room, elevators, community room, walking trail, community garden, small gathering/reading rooms on each floor and social, health, wellness, and educational activities programmed for active seniors.