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LAFAYETTE, LA-Two separate partnerships from Baton Rouge, LA are preparing to build the 33,000-sf Morgen office condominiums and the 24-unit Warehouse District Lofts. The projects, totaling $6.3 million, will be situated on four acres of adjacent land.

Dirt work already is underway on the parcel at South College and Gerard Park drives. Vertical work will begin on both projects mid- to late summer. Morgen will have seven office condos, each about 3,600 sf for $200 per sf to $210 per sf. Warehouse District Lofts units will measure about 2,000 sf. The ask is $135 per sf to $140 per sf.

Developer Dimitri Menutis, who is a partner in both projects, tells GlobeSt.com that both office space and housing are in demand in Lafayette, which is becoming a hot area for development these days. He says a 33,000-sf office building that he acquired at 110 Travis St. in 2005 is 100% occupied. “We’re turning away potential clients every day,” he says. “The idea is to have some of that overflow going over to the Morgen.” He says one prospect for Morgen’s space is thinking about buying 16,000 sf although it hasn’t yet gone vertical.

Baton Rouge developers Steve Duplechain, Greg Blanchard and John Gremillion are partnering with Menutis on Morgen, which will be ready for sale in the fall as a design-build opportunity. Tom Holden & Associates of Baton Rouge is the architect; and GDS Development Co., also from Baton Rouge, the general contractor.

As for the residential project, Menutis and Marion Joffrion, a partner and general contractor, are introducing a design pioneered by Urban Lofts Townhomes in Dallas. Menutis says he and Joffrion are licensees of the product. If Warehouse Lofts is successful in the market, the partnership plans to replicate it in Lafayette and elsewhere. The design includes a solar energy upgrade at an extra cost.

“One of the primaries I’d like to target for this are empty-nesters who have been in French Country home-design product for most of their lives and who may be looking for a lifestyle change,” Menutis says. “I think we’ll be able to attract those people who may not want their larger homes.” The first five townhouses will be ready in spring 2009.

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