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Topping-Off Ceremony Held For IBM Technology Center In Baton Rouge, Louisiana

A topping-off ceremony was held for the IBM technology center now under construction and slated for completion in May 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Part 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, said.

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. 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.

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.

“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 IBM Vice President Tim 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.”

Governor Bobby 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.

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.

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, as well as Louisiana’s Quality Jobs program.

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