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Part of Nicholson Drive to play key role in plans to transform Baton Rouge into entertainment destination

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BATON ROUGE - While it may not seem like it now, the stretch of Nicholson Drive from LSU to downtown could soon become an entertainment destination.

"Last year, community leaders came together to work on a joint music entertainment study to really connect a series of assets in our community that if put together could create enormous opportunity," said Baton Rouge Area Foundation President Chris Meyer.

Those assets include LSU and its proposed arena, the River Center and downtown, then on to Memorial Stadium. The thing that quite literally connects them is Nicholson Drive.

"We see these opportunities to connect all these different projects which really can be transformative for the community. Let's connect them purposefully. Let's make sure they're complementary and they tie together so that we elevate quality of life for all of our residents and attract visitors to Baton Rouge."

Last year, Commercial Properties Realty Trust purchased about 40 acres of rundown land on Nicholson Drive with hopes to eventually transform it into something more welcoming to visitors.

"This is the front door of Baton Rouge. Visitors who come here for a game day experience, a future concert or a conventionthis really can be the boulevard to connect into the university."

Depending on the results of a study that should be completed this spring, some big changes could be coming when traveling down the road.

"Hopefully, you're not driving from LSU to downtown. Hopefully there's an opportunity to walk or to take a new streetcar line. To really enjoy and stop along the way at new cafes, new food courts, new business opportunities that would be spurring there."

A project price estimate likely won't be available until after the study is completed, however BRAF says it will be a public-private partnership.

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