BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal highlighted the selection of the IBM technology center project in Baton Rouge as one of the top eight economic development deals in the U.S. during 2013. Business Facilities magazine named the Louisiana IBM project as an honorable mention selection in its annual Economic Development Deal of the Year competition while also honoring Louisiana as a runner-up for the publication’s annual State of the Year competition.
IBM will operate an 800-job software development and corporate technology solutions center in downtown Baton Rouge to serve the company’s domestic customers. Currently employing more than 100 professionals in a temporary location at an Essen Lane corporate office, IBM will move in 2015 to a new Baton Rouge facility now under construction as part of a $55 million urban development in downtown Baton Rouge. In addition to creating 800 new direct jobs, LED 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.
Gov. Jindal said, “IBM’s new technology center in Baton Rouge is a testament to our success in improving our state’s business climate and creating a strong foundation for a high-performing digital media and software development sector. IBM joins a growing list of digital media and software development companies that have invested in Louisiana – including GE Capital, Electronic Arts and Gameloft – and we are excited to see them thrive in our state. The partnership developed among public, private and higher education entities for this project demonstrates the full commitment of Louisiana to attract the very best companies the business world has to offer. This award proves not only to the rest of the nation but to the entire world that Louisiana is leading the way in creating a strong business climate and a nation-leading workforce training program.”
The hallmark of the IBM technology center project is an innovative public-private partnership to expand higher education programs related to computer science and technology and to construct a major new riverfront development. As a result of a $14 million higher education initiative funded by the State of Louisiana, LSU plans to double its computer science faculty and triple the number of computer science graduates in five years, which will place LSU among the top 10 to 15 programs nationally for the number of computer science undergraduate degrees awarded annually.
“Louisiana’s capital has had great success in executing its strategy of bringing together business and higher education in innovative public-private partnerships that spur initiatives in new high-growth sectors,” said Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers.
For its top three Deal of the Year selections, Business Facilities recognized a 700-job Apple advanced manufacturing center in Mesa, Ariz. (gold); a 1,850-job Hankook Tire manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tenn. (silver); and an 838-job General Motors IT innovation hub in Roswell, Ga. (bronze). Joining the Louisiana IBM project among the honorable mention selections were a 288-acre Pinewood Atlanta Studios entertainment complex in Fayetteville, Ga.; a 2,500-job headquarters and fulfillment center expansion by Urban Outfitters in Lancaster County, Pa.; a $530 million Toyota expansion to build Lexus models in Georgetown, Ky.; and a $400 million Subaru Impreza expansion in Lafayette, Ind.
Business Facilities named Louisiana as one of five runner-up states to Tennessee, which was selected as the magazine’s State of the Year. In addition to Louisiana, other runners-up for 2013 were Utah, Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Louisiana won the Business Facilities State of the Year competition in 2010 and also gained recognition as a runner-up in 2011 and 2012. The State of the Year competition is based upon the top job-creation and capital-investment projects announced by states each year.
The Business Facilities Economic Development Deal of the Year awards are presented to projects that create a significant number of quality jobs, increase the tax base and otherwise stimulate the local economy. The IBM project recognition marks the latest in a string of major economic development awards for Louisiana.
In November 2013, Site Selection magazine and the FDI Association awarded the international Foreign Direct Investment Deal of the Year award for Sasol Ltd.’s integrated gas-to-liquids and ethane cracker project in Westlake, La. The $16 billion to $21 billion Sasol project also received a Business Facilities Silver Medal in the magazine’s 2012 Economic Development Deal of the Year competition. Louisiana received a Business Facilities Bronze Medal in 2010 for Nucor’s multiphase iron-and-steel project under development in St. James Parish, which has an anticipated capital investment of up to $3.4 billion. That same year, the magazine named Louisiana its State of the Year.
Louisiana’s latest recognition accompanies a rapidly improving business climate in the state. In 2013, Louisiana reached its higher-ever position in a national business climate ranking when Business Facilities ranked the state No. 4 among the best U.S. business climates. Louisiana also stands at its highest-ever position in business climate rankings by Site Selection (No. 6) and Area Development (No. 6). Louisiana now places higher in every national business-climate ranking than it ever did prior to 2008. Southern Business & Development has named Louisiana State or Co-State of the Year in four of the last five years.
Advances in workforce development, governmental ethics laws, the state tax structure and education have joined with targeted incentives to boost Louisiana’s success in attracting economic development expansion and corporate relocation projects. The state’s improved business climate has accompanied a surge in business development wins: Since 2008, Louisiana has attracted economic development projects that are resulting in more than 83,000 new jobs in the state and more than $54 billion in new capital investment.
About Business Facilities
Business Facilities has been a leading source of intelligence on corporate expansion and relocation projects since 1968. For more on the 2013 Business Facilities Economic Development Deal of the Year and State of the Year awards, visit businessfacilities.com.