Baton Rouge Real Estate
Marigny apartment proposal fails to win endorsement of Historic District Landmarks Commission

Developer Sean Cummings will carry a record of one win and one “no decision” when he goes before theNew Orleans City Councilin a few weeks, seeking approval of a controversial proposal for a modernistic, six-story, 75-foot-tall apartment building he wants to build at Elysian Fields and Decatur Street. The proposal has sharply divided residents of Faubourg Marigny, with many demanding that the city grant no exceptions to the 50-foot height that has long been the limit in the historic neighborhood. They argue that maintaining the limit is vital for preserving Marigny’s special ambiance.

elisio-lofts-sean-cummings-rendering.jpgView full sizeA Neoscape rendering of a pedestrian alley in the Elisio Lofts complex being proposed by developer Sean Cummings.

Many other residents and business owners have praised Cummings’ plans, saying a taller building would be appropriate on a major thoroughfare such as Elysian Fields and that the project would bring needed life to an uninviting and even dangerous block.

One city agency has endorsed the plans for what Cummings is calling the Elisio Lofts building. Another agency Friday failed to do so, though it did not outright condemn the proposal. The final decision will be up to the council, which under the law must deal with the issue by its meeting of Sept. 6.

The site is in Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer’s district. She has not taken a position on the proposal.

The disputed building would be part of a three-building complex that would contain 73 upscale apartments, likely to be converted to condominiums in a few years. The project also would have 74 covered parking spaces and three commercial units, probably including a restaurant.

The City Planning Commission voted 8-0 in late June to endorse the overall project, which besides the six-story building would include a new 48-foot-high building, separated from the taller structure by a historic two-story warehouse Cummings plans to retain. The whole complex would average a little under 50 feet.

A sideways decision

map-marigny-081112.jpgView full size

However, the Historic District Landmarks Commission divided almost evenly Friday on the issue of whether to give “conceptual approval” to the 75-foot building. Such approval would have essentially endorsed its height and mass.

Before the vote, speakers on both sides addressed the commission, largely repeating many of the same arguments they and others made several weeks ago before the planning commission.

Cummings again pointed out that he could legally tear down all the buildings along the lake side of Decatur between Elysian Fields and Marigny Street and erect a single 50-foot building running the length of the block. Instead, he said, it would be more visually appealing and more in keeping with the spirit of Marigny to have three distinct buildings of varying heights, with the old two-story warehouse in the middle.

He has said his plan is to “create a monumental presence on the wide boulevard, sloping down respectfully and sensitively to lower heights” on the side streets, where the 50-foot limit is “highly appropriate.”

Opponents, clad in T-shirts proclaiming “Size Matters,” said the 50-foot height limit for new construction is vital to protecting the historic, mostly low-rise neighborhood from intrusions like the Christopher Inn apartment building for seniors at Royal and Frenchmen streets, which stands 100 feet high and is considered by many to be a visual blight.

Even if a single new 75-foot building might not be disastrous, some critics have said, it would almost certainly lead to more requests for higher buildings elsewhere along Elysian Fields. Others have said Cummings’ building alone would be unacceptable because it would tend to wall off the neighborhood from the riverfront park now under construction and would interfere with some residents’ views of the river and access to cooling breezes.

Some dislike design

Besides the height, some critics took issue with architect Wayne Troyer’s modernistic design, saying it would be out of keeping with the old neighborhood.

Cummings’ position on the desirability of taller buildings along Elysian Fields is in line with a document called Riverfront Vision 2005 that the planning commission adopted a few years ago over the protests of many in Marigny. It called for offering 25-foot “bonuses” above the normal 50-foot height limit on new buildings at the river end of major streets in Marigny.

The planning staff said the bonuses would “encourage exceptional and creative design, new residential uses, public open space, improved access and pedestrian amenities” at the foot of Elysian Fields and Press Street.

But many residents, led by the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, charged the planning staff with favoring developers’ desire to make money over residents’ desire to preserve the quality of life and character that had attracted them to the neighborhood.

The commission approved the plan in 2006, but with some misgivings. The council also endorsed the plan, but it added an amendment saying the vote “should not be taken as a blanket endorsement of every recommendation” in the document. The amendment also noted that “all zoning changes and each project or development proposal that requests a variance from existing zoning and scale will go through the normal community input and legal review processes.”

No consensus

After hearing from all the speakers and questioning Cummings and Troyer at length, the commission could not reach a consensus Friday. Member Lloyd “Sonny” Shields offered a motion to endorse the 75-foot building, yet requesting the developers to reduce it to 60 feet.

The motion failed to pass, with four votes in favor and five opposed. But even if the vote had been 5-4 the other way, the project still would have fallen well short of the eight favorable votes needed for an official commission recommendation.

Faubourg MarignyHomes For Sale

The Ins and Out of Preparing to Buy a Home

People used to buy a home only once or twice during their lifetime. That is no longer the case, with large families downsizing later in life and relocation being the key to career advancement for many people. The average family moves at least once every ten years, which means that there are always plenty of homes available for sale.

There are many tricks for finding the perfect home and buying it on your terms. This article will arm you with information that can take the hassle out of buying a home.

Financing – Things to Consider
Potential homebuyers usually go to their lender and complete the prequalification process. The lender considers their debt-to-income ratio and determines how much they can afford to pay. The lender usually overlooks your day-to-day spending habits and preferences. If you are like most people, you have a lifestyle to which you are accustomed, including hobbies, travel, vehicles and possibly even children.

The lender will not consider large expenses like college tuition, weddings for your children, or luxury vacations. Likewise, the lender will not ask you about your hobbies or your plans to purchase new furniture. Nevertheless, these are important considerations when you want to buy a home, because they impact the amount of money that you can spend on housing while still maintaining your lifestyle.

Prepare a budget ahead of time that will help you determine how much you can and want to spend on your mortgage payment each month. Unless you plan to change your lifestyle, you must have an accurate understanding of your financial habits. Often people buy a home as a result of a life change. Such changes are usually accompanied by expected changes in lifestyle and spending habits. Anticipate those changes and how much you will have available for your monthly mortgage payment.

Pre-Approval – Why it Matters
Potential buyers should never make an offer on a home until they have been pre-approved for a mortgage by their lender. Sellers prefer to work with buyers who are pre-approved, because when those buyers make an offer on a home, they intend to buy it.

Needs and Wants
Before you start shopping for a home, know what your new home has to have. If you need three bedrooms, do not waste your time with two-bedroom homes. However, if you need two bedrooms but would prefer to have three, consider two-bedroom homes that meet your other requirements.

When you know what you need in a home, you can narrow your selection process to those homes that meet your criteria. Sometimes this is advantageous, but it can be limiting.

Also consider the specific type of home that you need. If you are an aging adult, you probably cannot maintain a large lawn and garden, nor climb onto the roof when it is leaking. A home that is part of a community with a maintenance team might be necessary. Condos and townhomes might be a good solution. Similarly, if you have large dogs that need running space, a townhome or condo probably will not work for you. Choosing the style of the home is an individual decision and one of the first steps in finding a home that meets your needs.

Conclusion
Following this simple advice will help you shop for your next home as a very well-educated buyer. Knowing what you need and how much you can afford to spend ahead of time is the key to successful and happy homeownership.

Given the considerable amount of time needed to look at homes, complete the paperwork required, purchase a new home, and move, you probably will not want to move again soon. Make sure you pick the right home the first time! Hassle-free shopping and home buying is possible, but you need to know how to prepare for the process and identify the home that is best for your lifestyle.

BATON ROUGE REAL ESTATE

LSU Real Estate

The rich student community of Baton Rouge takes advantage of the most sought-after real estate of the American South. Louisiana State University is an acclaimed institution of higher learning, attracting academics from all over the nation for the high-ranking education, engineering and business departments. Investing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana condos from the onset of a student career is the prime way to establish oneself in this city of opportunity. With exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs, Baton Rouge is a wise place to set roots down. Upon completion of university studies, many students continue to reside in their university town to enjoy its growing economy. Job opportunities abound in the third largest film industry in the nation and research epicenter of the South.

We Serve Students & Families Looking for Prime LSU Real Estate

Let the THE DAZET GROUP willguide you to the most comfortable Baton Rouge cottagesfor first-time buyers. Apart from the superior academics of this city, Baton Rouge also offers a dynamic social setting for nightlife and entertainment. As Louisiana State University supports 20 varsity sports teams, excitement is never lacking for fans of all types of physical competition. Tiger Stadium, the sixth largest college football stadium in the United States, attracts spectators from all over the Gulf South to partake in the excitement of LSU Tigersfootball. In addition, thirty-eight organizations of Greek Life guarantee a close-knit student community for Baton Rouge students. The ample opportunities of Louisiana State University make for rewarding campus living.

LSU REAL ESTATE
LSU HOMES FOR SALE

Housing Isn’t a Buyer’s Market for Many First-Timers

Alex Dorado thought that buying his first home was going to be easy.

Lane Oatey | Getty Images
Many first-time buyers are getting a rude awakening. Instead of having their pick of homes, they’re facing bidding wars spurred by shrinking numbers of homes for sale.

“I said, ‘This is a recession. No one is looking at houses,’ ” the cellphone salesman says.

Dorado, 25, found his first love in February, a 1,200-square-footer in this Sacramento-area suburb. Before he put his offer in, he took his parents to see “where I was going to live,” only to discover the house was already sold.

He lost more than a dozen other bids on homes, often to cash-packing investors, before he landed a $134,000 fixer-upper in May with a low-down-payment Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. Now, he’s upgrading the home, which sits on a blue-collar street with dented cars parked in two nearby driveways.

As the nation’s housing market shows signs of bottoming after years of declining prices, many first-time buyers such as Dorado are getting a rude awakening. Instead of having their pick of homes to buy in some markets, they’re losing houses to cash buyers and bidders with bigger down payments, or they’re facing bidding wars spurred by shrinking numbers of homes for sale.

The competition can be most evident for lower-price homes in markets hard-hit by foreclosure, such as Phoenix, Miami and parts of Southern California, or those with relatively strong economies, such as Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, Realtors say.

First-time buyers who use FHA loans might be in for the toughest time. They’re frequently low-down-payment bidders. FHA loans might also require sellers to do more home repairs than do other loans, such as fixing chipped paint on older homes, Realtors and lenders say. If sellers receive multiple offers, they may avoid FHA offers.

Baton Rouge Real Estate
New Orleans Real Estate

Search The Country Club of Louisiana Homes For Sale!

A legendary landmark celebrated for its quiet style and grace, The Country Club of Louisianais one of the nation’s most elegant and prestigious private country clubs.

Amidst tree-lined walkways and lush flower gardens, The Country Club of Louisiana’s original Southern Plantation design evokes Baton Rouge’s rich history. Come and experience the old-world charm at our exclusive club.

Our members and guests can enjoy the clubs Championship, Jack Nicklaus, 18-Hole Signature Golf Course that expands over 228 acres of lush, contoured landscape. Other membership activities include taking a dip in our Olympic-size swimming pool, exercising in our men & women fitness centers, or enjoying tennis on one of our thirteen tennis courts.

A legendary landmark celebrated for its quiet style and grace, The Country Club of Louisiana is one of the nation’s most elegant and prestigious private country clubs.

A legendary landmark celebrated for its quiet style and grace, The Country Club of Louisianais one of the nation’s most elegant and prestigious private country clubs.

Amidst tree-lined walkways and lush flower gardens, The Country Club of Louisiana’s original Southern Plantation design evokes Baton Rouge’s rich history. Come and experience the old-world charm at our exclusive club.

Our members and guests can enjoy the clubs Championship, Jack Nicklaus, 18-Hole Signature Golf Course that expands over 228 acres of lush, contoured landscape. Other membership activities include taking a dip in our Olympic-size swimming pool, exercising in our men & women fitness centers, or enjoying tennis on one of our thirteen tennis courts.

Search The Country Club of Louisiana Homes For Sale

A legendary landmark celebrated for its quiet style and grace,The Country Club of Louisianais one of the nation’s most elegant and prestigious private country clubs.

Amidst tree-lined walkways and lush flower gardens, The Country Club of Louisiana’s original Southern Plantation design evokes Baton Rouge’s rich history. Come and experience the old-world charm at our exclusive club.

Our members and guests can enjoy the clubs Championship, Jack Nicklaus, 18-Hole Signature Golf Course that expands over 228 acres of lush, contoured landscape. Other membership activities include taking a dip in our Olympic-size swimming pool, exercising in our men & women fitness centers, or enjoying tennis on one of our thirteen tennis courts.

Baton Rouge Housing Affordability Soars to Record High

Low mortgage rates and falling Baton Rouge home values have brought Baton Rouge housing within reach to more families than ever before, according to the latest National Association of REALTORS® housing affordability index.

Baton Rouge Housing affordability in January reached its highest level since NAR began tracking it in 1970. The index — which tracks median home price, median family income, and the average mortgage rate — reached 206.1 in January.

“This is the first time the housing affordability index has broken the 200 mark, meaning the typical family has roughly double the income needed to purchase a median-priced home,” says Moe Veissi, 2012 NAR president. “For buyers who can qualify for a mortgage, now is a very good time to become a home owner.”

An index of 100 means that median-income household has exactly enough income to qualify for the purchase of a median-priced existing single-family home, also accounting for a 20 percent down payment and 25 percent of gross income devoted to the mortgage principle and interest payments.

NAR projects that affordability will remain high for the remainder of the year.

“Baton Rouge Housing inventory levels have declined to a point where conditions are becoming much more balanced in much of the country,” Veissi said.”If access to credit improves, we could see a much more meaningful increase in home sales and broader stabilization in home prices with modest gains in areas with stronger job growth.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Baton Rouge Housing Market

Azalea Lakes Baton Rouge

Azalea Lakes Baton Rouge

Welcome to the Azalea Lakes homes and real estate portal: your single stop for finding a home in Baton Rouge. Here you can search every available home for sale inAzalea LakesBaton Rouge.

As of today there are many homes and properties for sale that are available to search. The number of homes changes daily, so be sure to keep coming back right here, to the best site for Baton Rouge homes for sale.

Lake Azalea is a shared private lake in the heart of theAzalea Lakes Subdivisionin southeastern East Baton Rouge Parish and is bounded to the west by state highway -Jefferson Highway, to the north by HooShooToo Road, and to the east and south by private property owners.

It is a shared lake because the subdivision - Azalea Lakes - is composed of two complete homeowner associations that participate in ownership of Lake Azalea. The southernmost association - Azalea Lakes Subdivision Association - consists of 147 homes. The more northern association, relative to the lake - Azalea Lakes North Homeowners Association - includes 350 homes.

FindAzalea LakesOn Facebook - Azalea Lakes Homes For Sale

Buffett: a house may be today’s best investment

Warren Buffett is interviewed Monday by Becky Quick as part of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program. The live interview took place in pressroom of The World-Herald, which Berkshire bought in December, as a follow-up to Saturday’s release of the Berkshire Hathaway annual report.

Today’s best investment, Warren Buffett said Monday, may be to buy a distressed single-family house with a 30-year, low-interest-rate mortgage.

That’s because home prices are down in most places, interest rates are low and, Buffett said, the economy is improving and some day — he didn’t say when — housing prices will turn around, too.

"Three or four or five years, I’d probably sell it at a very substantial profit relative to my equity," Buffett said during a wide-ranging interview on CNBC.

Buffett also hinted at but didn’t disclose the identity of the person designated for now as his successor as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. And he discussed taxes, politics and the economy’s future.

The interview was broadcast live Monday from the pressroom of The World-Herald, which Berkshire bought in December, as a follow-up to Saturday’s release of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual report.

Individual houses may be good investments, Buffett said, but it’s difficult to buy many houses and manage them at a profit.

For nonhome investments, he recommended buying stock in good companies because he said their value is sure to advance over the long term.

Responding to a viewer question about whether he was upholding his responsibility to shareholders by getting involved in political debates, Buffett said he believes he has a responsibility to speak out on public issues such as taxes and government spending.

"I don’t think if you’re a CEO that you put your beliefs in a blind trust. I mean, I don’t think you give up your citizenship," he said.

Most people can’t make their views widely known and can’t afford a political action committee to influence government, he said. “I do have some kind of ability to speak out, and I think that if you have an ability to speak out and you see things that you think are wrong, I think you ought to talk about them.”

Buffett continued his criticism of the U.S. tax code and inaction by Congress to make it fairer to people of all incomes. The “ultra-rich” pay tax rates that are too low, on average, Buffett said, including himself in that category.

Under the tax code, he said, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who invest some of Berkshire’s money in the stock market, pay much higher taxes on their salaries and bonuses at Berkshire than they did doing the exact same work as independent money managers.

"That does not strike me as making any sense," Buffett said.

He said the plan is for his successor to be the CEO of an existing Berkshire company. He said the designated person is not a member of the Berkshire board and is the same person as a year ago.

He also said in his letter to Berkshire shareholders, posted online Saturday, that the person has had “a great deal of exposure” to the Berkshire board of directors.

That would seem to exclude Matt Rose of BNSF Railway and Jordan Hansell of NetJets, who became Berkshire managers only last year.

Those fitting that description would include Greg Abel, chairman and CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings; Ajit Jain, head of Berkshire’s reinsurance division; Kevin Clayton of Clayton Homes; Tad Montross of General Reinsurance; Cathy Baron Tamraz of Business Wire; Brad Kinstler of See’s Candies; and Susan Jacques of Borsheim’s.

Berkshire has about 70 subsidiaries, however, so the list of longtime managers is extensive. Buffett’s age, 81, and his importance to Berkshire’s success heighten interest in whom his successor will be.

He said Monday that other large publicly traded companies also do not name CEO successors in advance, in part because “they don’t like the effect of having a crown prince.” He said it’s enough to know that Berkshire’s board will choose the right person and has one in mind, plus two other qualified people who could do the job. The current designee does not know that fact, he said.

He said Combs and Weschler could handle all of Berkshire’s investments if need be. The next CEO would oversee acquisitions of entire companies, work with Berkshire’s existing division managers and consult on investments, Buffett has said.

In answer to a viewer’s question about whether it would be necessary for the next CEO to live in Omaha, Buffett said “there’s every intention of the headquarters of Berkshire being in Omaha 50 years, 100 years from now, and it wouldn’t make sense for the CEO not to be located where the headquarters are. So I think that’s a 99.9 percent answer, yes.”

He said he knows some people are pessimistic about America’s future.

"American capitalism is dynamic, so anytime you look at it on a static basis, you can get very pessimistic," Buffett said. "But the truth is, this economy works wonderfully. I mean, it isn’t working for everybody at this moment and it’s coming back from a terrible shock that it received in the fall of 2008.

"But look how far it’s come back and it continues to come back every day. … It is a terrible mistake to get pessimistic on America."

Baton Rouge Home Investments