City leaders respond to plans for new Baton Rouge event center

City leaders respond to plans for new Baton Rouge event center
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BATON ROUGE – Wednesday, Metro Council members discussed LSU’s plan for a more than $300 million entertainment and sports center. While most council members seem on board with the new development, others are worried it will take from what Baton Rouge already has to offer. 

The Tiger Athletic Fund is spearheading the plans to build the new arena. LSU says the PMAC isn’t equipped to host large-scale events. Some Metro council members say the River Center isn’t either. 

The River Center is a part of Metro Council Member Carolyn Coleman’s district downtown. Coleman says she’s on board with the proposal.

“This is going be a monumental legacy for Baton Rouge,” Metro Council member Carolyn Coleman said. “We’ve always talked about how we want state-of-the-art facilities. This will be one of the many that will be coming.”

Metro Council member Chauna Banks disagrees with the logistics. Banks says she’s worried about losing business at the River Center. Developers say they want to be assured they won’t be competing with the River Center to book acts. TAF has asked Metro Council for an agreement to restrict the kind of event held there. That would include any concert or show exceeding 3,500.

“I think it is not necessary to include the city of Baton Rouge River Center,” Banks said. “Competition is always good, but people are always drawn to new and nice.”

The actual timeline and cost are still unclear, though it’s likely to exceed $300 million. TAF is responsible for the costs. 

The Metro Council will open the item for public comment on March 13.

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