333 Lofts shows condos can work in Baton Rouge

Originally Published on Baton Rouge Business Report

On Wednesday, Aug. 1, Dantin Bruce Development will officially open the doors at 333 Lofts—a small, luxury condo complex on East Boyd Drive near the South Gates of LSU—to those who have signed purchase agreements on 17 of the 28 units in the $5.5 million development. When the project broke ground last August, three of the 17 sold condos had been pre-sold. In the current condo market—in which many projects in Baton Rouge have had to give up on pushing sales contracts and shift to lease agreements—Brian Dantin says he’s happy with sales thus far of the two- and three-bedroom condos in 333 Lofts, and believes contracts will close on the 11 remaining units. Sales contracts, that is—not leases. “If I was going to lease them, I probably could have leased these things two times over,” he says. Considering the stagnant economy and the fact that “no one was building condos from 2009 to 2011,” as Dantin puts it, 333 Lofts may have seemed like a gamble when it was announced last year. The condos, priced from $230,000 to $300,000 and with floor plans ranging from 960 to 1,330 square feet, aren’t starter homes by any stretch of the imagination. But Dantin says he spotted a lack of options for secure, luxury, student-friendly condos in the LSU area, and took aim at the families of students who were interested in just such a place while their children attended school. Though his targeted approach may be working for 333 Lofts, Dantin says the Baton Rouge condo market is still relatively weak and he “wouldn’t go develop some 200-unit condominium development” just anywhere in the city. —Frederick Holl