If you spend much time in Baton Rouge business circles, you know that real estate is one of the most vibrant and robust sectors of the local economy. The real estate market has been on a roll since the Great Recession, with a boom in new commercial and office development and a steady increase in residential activity. That is, up until the Covid crisis of 2020 threw a wrench in the real estate market, as it has with so much else. Now we’re looking at what we are optimistically calling a post Covid economy and in Baton Rouge post Covid real estate there are surprising opportunities. Real estate experts are trying to wrap their heads around what’s going on and where we’re headed.
Dottie Tarleton is a Senior Broker Associate at Stirling Properties. Dottie specializes in commercial real estate – retail shopping centers – which were already in the process of reinventing themselves before the pandemic, thanks to the Amazon effect. Dottie sees the transition of the mall as both a new world of retail and new way of orienting community.
Dottie’s front row seat to the workings of local real estate comes with a unique perspective. For most of Dottie’s career the wheelers and dealers of commercial real estate in the Deep South have been mostly male. The kind of men who, you could say, belonged to the good old boys network. When Dottie joined Stirling Properties 30 years ago, she was the only female broker doing commercial real estate. Today, the ranks have opened to women somewhat, but not nearly as much as you might think. If you want to know what’s going on (and not just in real estate!) Dottie’s and Stephanie’s conversation on this edition of Out to Lunch pulls no punches.
Terry Leblanc is Regional Sales Manager at Assurance Financial, an independent, full-service residential mortgage brokerage firm that was founded in 2001 right here in Baton Rouge and today is licensed in 43 states and is housed in 24 locations around the country, where it offers a full menu of residential loan products. Like Dottie, Terry is also a veteran of the real estate business and has been a mortgage broker since the mid-1990s. He ran his own firm for more than a decade. Since 2014, he has been instrumental in Assurance’s expansion into new territories.
Photos by Jill Lafleur. Hear more about the Baton Rouge post Covid real estate market here.