Gov. Jindal and IBM Mark Topping-Off Ceremony for New 800-Job Technology Center in Downtown Baton Rouge

Dec. 15, 2014

Gary Perilloux

IBM Technology Center will open May 2015 as part of $55 million urban development

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and IBM Vice President Tim McLachlan were joined by Baton Rouge Area Foundation President and CEO John Davies and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret in a topping-off ceremony, one in which the executives and guests signed a piece of structural steel to be installed near the top of the nine-floor IBM technology center now under construction and slated for completion in May 2015.

ibm-topper-01Part of a $55 million urban development in downtown Baton Rouge, IBM's technology center represents the permanent home for a project that will create 800 new direct jobs serving major IBM technology customers. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 542 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,300 new permanent jobs in the Capital Region of Louisiana. IBM began operations for its new Louisiana project in 2013, moving into an existing Essen Lane office in Baton Rouge, where the company already employs more than 200 professionals and is on target to reach full employment of 800 within the next four years. Next spring, those operations will move into the downtown IBM center, which will be joined on the same block by 525 Lafayette, a 10-story residential tower featuring CenturyLink smart-home automation in each of its 85 units.

ibm-topper-03Gov. Jindal said, "Today's topping-off ceremony fulfills another milestone in our commitment to position Louisiana as a leader in the global technology sector. IBM's Baton Rouge technology center will propel Louisiana on the cutting-edge of innovation, with Baton Rouge serving as a thriving landmark for major businesses and technology projects. It will also help train more of our tech students as LSU and IBM work closely with one another to equip our students to meet the growing demand for skilled workers in the tech industry. We look forward to the progress of more outstanding career opportunities with IBM as we continue to prepare a highly skilled, next-generation workforce right here in Louisiana."

The IBM technology center project includes innovative, public-private partnerships to expand higher-education programs related to computer science and to construct the major new riverfront development that will accelerate the redevelopment renaissance underway in downtown Baton Rouge. For the IBM project, the State of Louisiana will provide $14 million over 10 years to expand higher-education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual computer science graduates. At least 65 percent of those funds will be provided for expansion of the Computer Science Division of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at LSU. IBM will employ a broad range of college graduates and experienced professionals with backgrounds in computer science and other quantitative-intense fields, such as engineering, mathematics and science.

"Since May 2013, a year-and-a-half later, IBM and the State of Louisiana are proudly showing the collaborative power of public-private partnerships," said McLachlan, who manages the IBM technology center in Baton Rouge. "This innovative model is now working to build the next generation of capability and service for a multitude of U.S. clients. Today's topping-off ceremony represents a major milestone in our committed journey together."

In Baton Rouge, IBM will provide its U.S. clients with integrated solutions to successfully adopt and support solutions on cloud, analytics, mobile, social or security. The IBM technology center will deliver technology services that include application development, application management and system integration. IBM will work closely with local professors at LSU to create coursework focused on technology, math and software development, equipping students to meet the growing demand for business services in advanced analytics, process innovation and application development.

A key public-private partnership secured construction of the IBM center's permanent site. Commercial Properties Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust, is building the $55 million urban development. CPRT manages and develops property holdings of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and the BRAF-affiliated Wilbur Marvin Foundation will own the IBM office building and the adjacent 10-floor residential building that includes 85 river-view apartments (available beginning October 2015) and an adjoining five multistory townhomes.

The approximately $30.5 million office building is being built with public funds, whereas CPRT, which estimates 600 construction jobs associated with the overall project, will privately finance the residential building. Bounded by Lafayette Street on the east, River Road on the west, Main Street on the south and North Street on the north, the development site is at the former location of The Advocate newspaper.

"We are beyond the tipping point for revival of our downtown, and now we are beginning the next chapter, returning to the river where our city was born more than 200 years ago," BRAF's Davies said.
LED offered IBM a customized, performance-based incentive package that also includes grants totaling $29.5 million over 12 years, including a $1.5 million contribution from the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge, to reimburse costs related to personnel recruitment, relocation, and other workforce-related costs; internal training; and facility operating expenses. The company also will utilize LED FastStart® for recruitment support, as well as Louisiana's Quality Jobs program.

IBM represents the vanguard of what is becoming a rapidly expanding technology sector for the state. Digital media and software development investments by GE Capital, EA, Gameloft, CSC, CGI, Perficient and others have been accompanied by major corporate headquarters expansions by CenturyLink and Schumacher Group, with more than 5,000 new direct jobs expected to be filled in Louisiana's software technology sector in the next few years alone.

In connection with the IBM higher-education initiative, LSU plans to double its computer science faculty and triple the number of computer science graduates in five years, which will place the LSU Computer Science program in the Top 10 to 15 programs nationally for the number of bachelor's degrees in computer science awarded annually. To support the growth of technology graduates statewide, Louisiana has launched additional higher-education initiatives at Louisiana Tech University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of New Orleans, in addition to a Geaux Digital Louisiana initiative that engages high schools, community and technical colleges, and other universities to promote interest in computer science-related careers and to enhance student recruitment.

"This formidable structure in the heart of downtown makes tangible the economic strides of the Capital Region," said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. "It represents the strength, growth and diversity that characterize our economy."

"With this significant milestone for IBM's technology center, we are one step closer to Baton Rouge becoming a world-class destination for software and knowledge-based professions – a city full of opportunities to keep our sons and daughters home," Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden said.

Additional details about IBM's Baton Rouge project, visit

About IBM
IBM is a globally integrated technology and consulting company headquartered in Armonk, N.Y. With operations in more than 170 countries, IBM attracts and retains some of the world's most talented people to help solve problems and provide an edge for businesses, governments and nonprofits. Innovation is at the core of IBM's strategy. For more about IBM, visit


New Merchants Announced at Acadian Village

Friday, March 22, 2013
Commercial Properties Realty Trust Announces
New Merchants at Acadian Village

Several Businesses to Become the First for the Baton Rouge Market
Baton Rouge, LA. - Commercial Properties Realty Trust is happy to announce that 9 new merchants have signed leases to join the Acadian Village Shopping Center scheduled to open this fall. Kean's Fine Dry Cleaning, and The Keeping Room are some of the local favorites, while nationally known Trader Joe's, Nadeau - Furniture with a Soul, and Petco also plan to open stores. Newcomers to the market, Smarter Eyewear, and Pei Wei (P.F. Chang's Fast Food Restaurant), and New Orleans originals Baby Bump Maternity, Air Blow Dry Bar, and La Divina Italian Cafe will also join the center.

Galatoire's Bistro opened at Acadian Village in January this year and Acme Oyster House has been open and operating since 2008. "The mix of businesses in Acadian Village will serve the well-established surrounding neighborhoods and draw more shoppers to the thriving Perkins Road Overpass Area," said Carolyn Martin, president and CEO of Commercial Properties Realty Trust.

The main shopping center construction is underway at the corner of Acadian Thruway and Perkins Road and scheduled to open in September. Acadian Village is over 85% leased with additional leases pending on most of the remaining spaces. Commercial Properties Realty Trust is investing over $18 million in the 70,000 square foot shopping center.


CPRT to Build Office & Residential Towers Downtown

CPRT to Build Office & Residential Towers Downtown
Partnership will bring high-tech jobs, residences to Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, LA. - Commercial Properties Realty Trust will build the first high-rise riverfront residential and office buildings in Downtown Baton Rouge in over half a century. The complex will include an eleven-story residential tower boasting 95 river view apartments, nine luxury town homes, and an office tower that will be the home of a new IBM Domestic Delivery Center.

The software center will rise eight stories and encompass more than 220,000 sq. feet of mixed-use office space. The two towers will be connected by a 24,000 square foot private terrace overlooking the Mississippi River.

The complex is being built on the old Advocate newspaper site bordered by Main, North, Lafayette Street and River Road. Total investment for the combined development is estimated to be $55 million. The office tower is scheduled for completion by spring 2015 with the residential complex following in the summer.

The State of Louisiana, City of Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish are partnering to build the $30.5 million, eight-story office building. IBM will take up the entire office building with software engineers and related staff. The Wilbur Marvin Foundation will own the building and collect no rent for at least 15 years, only a fee from the state and IBM to cover operating costs. "This partnership is a major piece of the puzzle that is bringing a quality company like IBM to Louisiana" said Stephen Moret, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development.

CPRT will secure private financing for the residential tower, which will also be an asset of the WMF.

"We have partnered successfully with the state to build The Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown," said John G. Davies, Baton Rouge Area Foundation president and CEO. "This latest collaboration will provide space for more than 800 professional technology jobs, and apartments for hundreds to live in the city center, an important piece of continuing the revival of downtown."

The project, in the planning stages since fall of 2012, began with a generous gift of a parcel of land to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation from the Manship Family. Antunovich Associates, which has a history with IBM and has collaborated with CPRT on other projects, designed the buildings and will be the project's architect.

All apartments will have balconies overlooking the Mississippi River and will range in size from approximately 500-1000 square feet. Rents have not been set. There will be a private fitness center for IBM employees and the residents. For More information visit

About Commercial Properties Realty Trust: CPRT is a real estate investment trust that manages and develops property holdings of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Because of this relationship with a community foundation, a portion of the profits are shared for improving the quality of life in areas where CPRT operates. CPRT manages shopping centers and mixed-use properties in North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas. For more, visit For more about the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, visit

CPRT Breaks Ground for New IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge and 525 Lafayette

Baton Rouge, LA. - Groundbreaking ceremonies were held today in downtown Baton Rouge for the much anticipated IBM Services Center and 525 Lafayette Residential tower. Surrounded by dozens of new IBM employees, Governor Bobby Jindal, LED Secretary Stephen Moret, Colleen Arnold, IBM Senior Vice President, BRAF President John Davies and CPRT CEO, Carolyn Martin broke ground with several other leaders in a ceremonial dig of blue mulch today in the ballroom of the Hilton Capitol Center.

Site preparation and anticipating large crowds caused an indoor ceremony, however it did not dampen the spirit or enthusiasm for such a game changing project to the city of Baton Rouge. "This groundbreaking event is a reminder of the great things happening in our city and we thank IBM for being part of the push to make our city even better" said Mayor President Kip Holden.

CPRT selected Antunovich Associates as the project architect and The Lemoine Company as general contractor in a competitive bid process. The center and residential tower is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015. Click here for more information on 525 Lafayette.

sm-onyx-rendering-01CPRT To Build New Onyx Apartments Downtown

New Residential Coming to Downtown
Onyx Building to Become 28 apartments with First Floor Commercial Space

Commercial Properties Realty Trust will begin redeveloping the Onyx Building in downtown Baton Rouge this fall, replacing a shuttered building with a combination of commercial space and apartments on Third Street that will be known as The Onyx Residences.

The new five-story building will have 28 one and two-bedroom apartments built above 5,600 square feet of commercial space. It will be located at the corner of Third and Convention streets. Apartments will range from 600 to 1,100 square feet and rents have not been determined. Each unit will have a balcony or terrace overlooking Third Street, Convention Street or the Shaw Center for the Arts. Reserved parking will be available across the street in the state parking garage at prevailing rates.

Commercial Properties expects to invest $6.2 million in the redevelopment with the building ready for occupancy in fall of 2014. The exterior of the building has more than 100 marble panels that will be reused on the new building.

Commercial Properties manages and develops real estate assets of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Thirteen years ago, the Foundation underwrote Plan Baton Rouge, a revival strategy for downtown that has drawn more than $2.5 billion in investments from the public and private sector.

"We thank all the people who have come together to create a common gathering place for everyone in the parish," said John G. Davies, CEO and president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. "Downtown has more than a dozen new restaurants, more class-A office space, a new Town Square, hotels, the Shaw Center for the Arts and its Manship Theatre. With this development, more people will be able to live downtown, which is vital to continuing the area's transformation."

Before this project, Commercial Properties and the Foundation rehabbed the abandoned Capitol House into a Hilton, built restaurant spaces on the Art Block and put up One Eleven Lofts, which are 12 fully-rented apartments on Third Street at the Shaw Center.

The Onyx Building originally opened in the 1950's and was the home of Rider's Jewelry store until the late 1970's. It sat empty for more than three decades until City Year, a nonprofit, occupied it for a brief time in the last decade.

The Arts Block was formed as a unique partnership between the City of Baton Rouge, the State of Louisiana, Louisiana State University, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Bounded by North Boulevard and Lafayette, Convention and Third streets, the Arts Block includes the Shaw Center for the Arts, the LSU Museum of Art, The Manship Theatre complex, several restaurants, a coffee shop, and One Eleven Lofts.

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