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School Board buys Pellerin Insurance HQ

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‘HELL OF A DEAL’ – This 10,000-square-foot building on Rees Street in Breaux Bridge, which has housed Pellerin Life Insurance Company for 16 years, will become offices for St. Martin School Board administrative personnel. (Sally Angelle)

$1,775,000 for building, 2.34 acres near school system office
Henri C. Bienvenu

The St. Martin School Board expanded its footprint here last Thursday when it closed on a deal to purchase the Pellerin Insurance corporate building and its 2.34 acres of land on Rees Street for $1,775,00.
The property is adjacent to the board’s new administrative office and the building will be used to house central office personnel.
The purchase was not without controversy, however. District 6 representative Jimmy Blanchard questioned the accuracy of the appraisal submitted by Tony Trosclair and tried unsuccessfully to delay the sale until a second appraisal could be done.
He argued that there was some confusion over the exact acreage being purchased and pointed out that an inspector has suggested that seven of the building’s eight central air-conditioning units are nearing the end of their expected service life. The building is 16 years old.
“I think we owe it to the taxpayers to get a second appraisal,” Blanchard said.
But his motion to delay the purchase and get an additional appraisal was voted down.
It has also been determined that the 10,000-square-foot building’s roof will have to be replaced, but the school superintendent, Dr. Lottie Beebe, says the Pellerins have agreed to cover half of the $58,000 estimated cost.
Floyd Knott of District 9 was a strong supporter of the purchase. He pointed out that Pellerin had an appraisal done “several” years ago that set the value of the building at $1.6 million. “With the growth of Breaux Bridge that property has probably increased in value.”
“I think the board is getting a hell of a deal,” he said.
In addition to the portion occupied by the building and parking lot, the property included in the deal consists of two pieces fronting Rees Street on each side of Corporate Boulevard leading from Rees to the building, a parcel adjacent to the board’s Administrative Office and another parcel directly behind the Pellerin building.
The parcel abutting Rees on the south side of Corporate Boulevard has a pipeline running under it so no structures can be built there.
The board had budgeted $3 million for the construction of a central office annex that was to be used to house special services personnel.
But Dr. Beebe has indicated that the superintendent’s office and some staff operations would likely be moved into the Pellerin building with the special services staff occupying the spaces vacated by her and her immediate staff.
While the $1.77 million being paid for the building and property is significantly below the $3 million allocation for the project, the board will have to expend some funds for remodeling and reconfiguration of the building. It is not known at this time how much that might cost.
Frank Pellerin, president of Pellerin Insurance, has asked that he be given six month or so to vacate the building since there are several tenants with offices in the facility.

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