Is Baton Rouge Black entertainment life heating up?
Brad Gordon is a Baton Rouge-based entrepreneur. He quickly became an established and notable figure in the city as an entertainment industry event curator at his self-named event marketing and promotions company, Brad Gordon International, LLC (BGI).
BGI produces after-parties and every type of celebration under the sun, from weekly tastemaker mixers to lavish annual weekend celebrations. Brad got his start in the entertainment industry when he and Samuel Hemmings partnered to launch DG Events in 2013.
In addition to his works in the entertainment industry, Brad spends a large portion of his time working on issues that disproportionately affect the African American community through his nonprofit, The Renaissance Inc. His philanthropic connections and contributions have positively impacted educational and political awareness, economic development, and advancement in underserved Baton Rouge communities.
While Brad is known for turning venues into the hottest spots in the city, he has desired to own a venue for quite some time. His search to find the perfect space began in 2019, and he met with several building owners and sat through lots of negotiations, but all of those fell through. Then in 2021, he met with B. Anthony Kimble of Kimble Properties, a privately held real estate investment and development company. Together the two would go on to invest in three construction projects, The Block Container Park, The Rooftop at Legacy, and The Valley House.
Learn more about the upcoming projects below.
Fancy: So, how would you describe the social scene in Baton Rouge?
Brad: In my opinion, the social scene in Baton Rouge is very much in flux. Baton Rouge is growing as a city and a parish. The Greater Baton Rouge Metropolitan area is rapidly approaching a million residents, but entertainment-wise, there’s not much to do. It’s one of the reasons why it is so hard to keep people here. When people come from other places and graduate from one of the local colleges and decide to make a life here, there are not many things for people to do. Young and middle-aged Black professionals with disposable income definitely can be mobile, as they often decide to do. Wouldn’t it be better if they could invest their money back into our local community?
Many people travel to places like Atlanta and Houston for nightlife. Houston has the most extensive nightlife scene right now, and I feel that they have been successful because the Black business owners own their venues.
Fancy: As for the venues here in Baton Rouge, what do you think they are lacking?
Brad: Many locations here are not designed to operate as bars or restaurants. They were not designed for socializing or accommodating large crowds of people. I’m talking about the aesthetics, the bathrooms, the walkways, and so on. Based on the concept, how many people can they hold in the room simultaneously? Is this a bar and grill or a nightclub? These things are essential. We don’t have many of those spaces, but we are evolving. Currently, Belle Noche, Dead Poet, and Main Lobby are examples of sustainable urban nightlife concepts in our marketplace. Those are all great concepts, in my opinion. Over the next 3 to 5 years, you’ll start seeing more intentional gatherings and social entertainment concepts come to our City.
Ownership and partnerships are significant factors in our future success. For example, suppose I want to purchase a $500,000 commercial building. In that case, it’s more feasible for us to come together as a group and pool our resources together -understanding that we’re going to go further together. My friend and business partner, B. Anthony Kimble of Kimble Properties and I are working on projects outside the downtown area in Old South Baton Rouge. You should interview Anthony soon so your readers can learn about the ecosystem he’s building in Old South Baton Rouge.
Fancy: So let’s get into the projects, starting with The Block Container Park because that is the one that I initially heard about. What is the Block Container Park?
Brad: The Block Container Park was our first project idea. Shipping container parks and food container hubs are popping up all over the country, and we thought Baton Rouge was the perfect location for a new food park. Our thought process was that we did not want the food and retail tenants to have the burden of being the only reason that people would visit the park, so adding my entertainment concept was a no-brainer.
There’s also the warehouse that sits across the street from the lot that was to be the container park. A decision had to be made about the future of that building, so we revamped our original idea for the park three times. I mean that we actually started over from scratch. We inevitably decided to execute the concept from The Block inside the warehouse, called The Valley House.
Fancy: So for clarity, are you saying that you’re not doing the Container Park? Just The Valley House Development?
Brad: Yes ma’am. That is correct.
The Valley House
Fancy: The location on 1440 Government, which is to be The Valley House idea, came after the container park. What can we expect from that?
Brad: The Valley House is located at 1440 Government Street in what was once the historical Valley Saloon. It’s three buildings, so one side of the front building was the Valley Saloon, and the other was The Valley Hotel. Then in the back, there are two big warehouse spaces. With the remodel, the front of the building will house four businesses. Additionally, there will be a 6,000-square-foot Ballroom (The Saint “Industrial Event Gallery”). Lastly, my bar (SIP “Day to Night Adult Playground”) will be located in the back area because I was adamant about having a patio. The Valley House is set to begin construction in January 2023.
SIP DAY TO NIGHT ADULT PLAYGROUND
The Saint Industrial Event Gallery
Fancy: Now about the Rooftop at Legacy? What’s the latest on that?
Brad: It remains unfinished at the moment. That project has taught me quite a few lessons, and every lesson came with an invoice. The main reason we haven’t finished the rooftop is simple; it’s not at the top of our list of priorities. The Valley House, Uptown Hospitality Group, and a whole host of residential developments are of greater emphasis at the moment.
Fancy: Wow, you all have been busy. I think all of these projects will be a great addition to Baton Rouge, but what is your overall vision?
Brad: We’ve created a hospitality group, so each project is a part of our entertainment portfolio. My goal is to build and operate a brand that we can say, here’s our blueprint for how we did it. Also, as the distance between specific communities is shrinking, I think ideas like these could work in other parts of the parish, like Baker and Zachary but on a smaller scale.
Fancy: Well, this has been enlightening, and I’m looking forward to seeing everything completed, so I can have some new, local places to visit.
Connect with Brad below:
More News on Brad Gordon: https://swagheronline.com/batonrouge-educators-talk-the-politics-of-education/
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