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IBM Plans To Establish Downtown, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Technology Services Center

Area Development Online News Desk (09/27/2013)
A $55 million urban development project in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will become home to its new IBM Technology Services Center, which is estimated will create 800 jobs.

The IBM technology center, which has been operating out of temporary quarters in an Essen Lane office in Baton Rouge, employs more than 100 people. The company’s Baton Rouge operation develops software applications and other business solutions for domestic customers.

The IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge project includes innovative, public-private partnerships to expand higher-education programs related to computer science and to construct a major new riverfront development that will accelerate the revitalization of downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana Economic Development said. The center 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.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “Today represents a landmark event in the history of Louisiana, Baton Rouge and the Capital Region. This historic new technology center operated by IBM will pioneer new innovation and software development right here in Baton Rouge. The IBM Services Center will create quality technology career opportunities, allowing us to retain our best and brightest students here at home while also further growing our economy.”

“Today represents an important step in demonstrating the power of public-private partnerships to build the next generation workforce and drive economic growth,” said Colleen Arnold, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Business Services. “As IBM continues to grow in Baton Rouge, we will continue to meet our client’s evolving needs around Big Data, mobile, social business and cloud.”

The Baton Rouge center will provide IBM clients in the United States with solutions that address the increasing demand for flexible software services to keep up with Big Data cloud and mobile requirements. IBM Services Center: Baton Rouge will deliver technology services that include application development, application management and system integration.

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.

Another public-private partnership secured construction of the IBM center’s permanent site. Commercial Properties Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust, will build the $55 million urban development. CPRT manages and develops property holdings of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. The BRAF-affiliated Wilbur Marvin Foundation will own the IBM office building and an adjacent 11-floor residential building with 95 river-view apartments and nine townhomes.

The approximately $30.5 million office building will be constructed with public funds, whereas CPRT will secure private financing for the residential building that will be completed in 2016.

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.

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