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Baton Rouge businesses are hopeful developers can turn blight into success

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BATON ROUGE - A New Orleans developer is hoping to get final approval from the East Baton Rouge Metro Council to turn a blighted building on Government Street into a booming bar.

So far, he has not faced any pushback from neighbors. 

“Welcome, come please, we can't wait to work with you! We can't wait to visit you. We can't wait to interact and be neighbors,” said Faith Miller, the owner of The Emporium. 

“I think it's a great idea,” Baton Rouge resident Angela Decoteau said.

This was a popular response to the idea of this abandoned property on Government Street becoming a rooftop bar.

“This location is already blighted. They have bars already in the area," developer Cornelius Quarels said at a June 20 Metro Council meeting.

Quarels needed approval for the rooftop bar from the commission first, and he took the opportunity to describe the possible clientele.

“It's more of an upscale, young professional bar. Lounge seating, no loud music, per se, just young business professionals. It's going to have a cigar lounge inside of it,” Quarels said.

Business owners near the property couldn't be happier to see blight turned into business.

"We're just glad something's coming here that gives it life," Miller said. "We need more down here. We've got so many abandoned buildings just waiting for something delicious to come in."

Another neighboring business also spoke in favor of the potential bar during the commission meeting. 

“He showed me some other properties he owns and how he rehabbed them and what they are today, and I'm here to speak and say it's a great idea,” business owner Mary Alford said.

Quarels told WBRZ he may call the bar District 10, but he won't announce an expected opening date until all plans are approved.

The business is scheduled to be voted on during the July 20 Metro Council meeting.

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