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HERO HIGHLIGHT: Hank Saurage – Highland Coffees Landlord

If there’s one thing Baton Rouge has too many of, it’s beloved, comfortable, decades-old coffee shops that are woven into the fabric of local culture.

That’s why we applaud the landlord of one such blight for having the courage not to renew its lease even in the face of public outcry, and opting to bring in a sorely needed burger and wing restaurant.

Hank Saurage, who owns the building that houses Highland Coffees on Chimes Street just outside the North Gates of the LSU campus, bravely refused to renew the 25-year-old local institution’s lease after fielding offers from potential tenants who promise to be there for months and months.

That’s exactly the kind of entrepreneurial hubris that drives the local commercial real estate market.

According the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, Saurage said he put the 3,000-square-foot building out to market earlier this year and received three “significant offers.”

“We’ve got something lined up that we think will be perfect,” said Saurage, who’s a member of the same Saurage family that founded and owns Community Coffee and CC’s Coffee House.

Highland-Coffees-trellisSaurage indicated Highland Coffees – which sits across the street from the famed Chimes Restaurant, just a block away from Buffalo Wild Wings, and amid a dearth of free, available parking – is to be replaced by a revolutionary full-service restaurant that will be “a little different than your typical burger and wings joint.”

Predictably, many shortsighted people have derided Saurage as just another greedy Baton Rouge property owner who cares nothing about tradition, neighborhood character, or quality of life.

We, on the other hand, praise Saurage for being a greedy Baton Rouge property owner who cares nothing about tradition, neighborhood character, or quality of life. After all, that’s exactly the kind of entrepreneurial hubris that drives the local commercial real estate market.

Therefore, we applaud Saurage for having the courage not to let something as trivial as the sentimentality of countless Baton Rougeans or even his own reputation get in the way of making a few extra bucks by leasing the Highland Coffees building to an eatery that’s sure to be gone by 2017.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

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