Downtown Development DistrictA Passion for ProgressDowntown Events Coming Up...

Art Deco Classic gets a new look in Beauregard Town
Prince Apartments are getting a $1 million facelift

Downtown Baton Rouge is teaming with new life and activities this fall. As residents, workers and visitors pack the city's center for upcoming events such as Live After Five or take a Saturday morning stroll to the Red Stick Farmer's Market, they may also notice the sound of hammers and sanders furiously working at the corner of North Boulevard and Napoleon Street. Why? The 1930's era Prince Apartments are getting a $1 million facelift.

Longtime Beauregard Town resident and DDD board member Chris Nichols is enthusiastic about the project. "The Prince is one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in downtown Baton Rouge, and I am just delighted that someone is saving this wonderful building."

Originally designed by local architect, Lewis A. Grosz, whose other projects included the 1939 EBR Parish Library and numerous private residences in Baton Rouge, the Prince Apartments have always featured high ceilings, clean design lines and stunning architectural details reminiscent of the machine age. But without any major renovations over the last several decades, the building suffered from neglect and the units fell behind the times.

Developer Tony Gelderman planned to change all that when he bought the property in 2005, just a few months before Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina threw off my timing a little, but the goal has always been to restore the Prince from top to bottom," Gelderman said.

New plumbing and electrical systems have been installed throughout the building. Soon, the one and two bedroom units will also feature recessed lighting, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, washer-dryer combinations, brand new kitchen cabinetry, tiled showers, tankless hot water heaters, and stunning curved picture windows (left). Tenants of the eight-unit complex will also have access to gated parking.

"With all the modern updates and a respectful nod to the past, these apartments are stylish, luxurious and vintage all at the same time," Gelderman continued.

Leasing for the Prince Apartments will begin this October, and construction is scheduled for completion in November. Rental rates will start at roughly $1,300 a month.

Bringing more residents downtown

The Prince Apartments are the latest in a series of recent developments aimed at bringing more residents downtown-nearly three dozen units came online just last year with the opening of the Kress building and One Eleven.

"This signifies quite a renaissance in downtown Baton Rouge," Gelderman said. "These top dollar residential developments demonstrate there's a strong market."

Indeed, Beauregard Town, Spanish Town and the downtown business district are now considered to be prime real estate for individuals who long for the sense of community that comes with living in an urban center.

Brian Goad, a longtime resident and president of the Beauregard Town Civic Association, says it's all about the little things. "Where else in the city can you walk to get a hair cut or grab lunch with a friend? Where else in the city do neighbors know each other well enough to share gardening chores and housework?"

"It seems more and more folks are moving down here because they are attracted to this progressive mindset," Goad said.

Tax credits important

Despite the growing demand for downtown living, the cost of renovating an older property in an urban setting can be challenging for developers. For example, Gelderman says the Prince restoration would not have been possible without state and federal tax credits that are available for renovating properties in historic districts.

"This project qualified for the federal tax credit of 20 percent and the state credit of 25 percent. Together these credits should defray about 35 percent of the total renovation costs," Gelderman said.

The credits don't cover all expenses, such as landscaping and appliances, but they are still really important.

"With the gap between the value of the property and the investment that it takes to restore-it just wouldn't be feasible otherwise," he continued.

Chris Nichols agrees. "The tax incentives give you the financial flexibility to bring historic homes back. I recently used state tax credits on a property I purchased on Louisiana Ave. If not for these credits, the project would not have made financial sense."

To help finance the restoration of the Prince, Gelderman also took advantage of the Preservation Easement Program offered through the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans (PRC). Through this program, owners of historic buildings get a tax break by donating the façade of the property to the PRC. Once the donation is made, the PRC's right to regulate changes to the property's exterior is recorded in its title and remains in effect in perpetuity.

"The facade donation is another excellent historic preservation tool which added significantly to the economic desirability of the Prince rehabilitation," Gelderman said.

For more information about the Prince Apartments, contact Snappy Jacobs at (504) 525-0190 or

To learn more about federal and state historic tax credits, contact Alison Bordelon at the Division of Historic Preservation at (225) 342-8160 or visit To learn more about the PRC's Preservation Easement program, visit

Visit our Downtown Residential Living page to explore a myriad of Downtown housing options within our historic Spanish Town and Beauregard Town neighborhoods.


For more information on the Downtown Development District, visit our website.

227 Florida St.  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70801  |  (225) 389-5520 Office (225) 389-5523 Fax  |  8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F

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