By Ryan Broussard, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

A new flagship Rotolo’s Pizzeria will anchor a 16,000-square-foot retail development Mitch Rotolo is planning on newly purchased land at the corner of Burbank Drive and Ben Hur Road.

Rotolo and partner Jeffrey Byrd, through their Burbank R & D LLC, purchased the 2-acre plot for $1.5 million from AFE-PAT LCC, represented by local attorney Kirk Patrick III, according to sale documents filed with the city-parish Clerk of Court’s Office on Tuesday.

That location puts Rotolo’s in the midst of a student-housing boom at LSU that includes two massive complexes—The Woodlands of Baton Rouge and The Cottages of Baton Rouge—near Rotolo’s property and others, including The Wildwood of Baton Rouge at 5959 Burbank Drive, that are in the area.

Rotolo says the new location fits the restaurant’s target demographic for both the pizza restaurant and the companies being recruited for the development.

“We’re going to be right in the middle of where we need to be,” Rotolo says.

The new flagship Rotolo’s location will be similar to the other restaurants, but will be about 25% larger, coming in at about 4,500 square feet.

Rotolo’s already has a location at 4343 Nicholson Drive. Rotolo says that restaurant is about 20 years old, so everything there will be moved to the new flagship location and the Nicholson Drive space will be marketed for lease for a new food service business.

“We’ve kind of outgrown that old location,” Rotolo says.

As for the rest of the development, Rotolo says interest is high, even though the property has not been formally marketed. The restaurateur hopes to attract a clothing boutique, hair salon or similar businesses to the development. He says the hope is to have about six total businesses, depending on how much space each one needs.

The development, the name of which is not yet being made public, remains in the design phase. Rotolo says he hopes to break ground by Aug. 1 and finish in the first quarter of 2017. A formal opening ceremony is planned.

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