In 2014, record business climate rankings combined with new tech, energy, logistics and manufacturing investments to secure Louisiana’s standing as the new frontier for business opportunity.
Louisiana reached exceptional heights in 2014 — climbing to No. 1 in Business Facilities magazine’s Best Business Climates — while attracting a remarkable slate of new technology, international commerce, manufacturing and energy projects that further established the state as the new frontier for business opportunity. More than 70 projects secured by Louisiana Economic Development in 2014 will generate more than 25,000 new jobs and over $16 billion in new capital investment within the state in the near future.
CSC, a global technology leader with more than 74,000 professionals, selected Louisiana’s National Cyber Research Park for one of the year’s marquee projects. In February 2014, CSC announced it will build a 116,000-square-foot, next-generation technology center and create 800 direct jobs. Construction began five months later on the facility that will be critical to CSC’s support of federal and global commercial customers.
In a year of technology growth statewide, Lafayette also attracted a major project in CGI’s 400-job IT center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Research Park. Two additional software technology projects selected Lafayette — Perficient and Enquero — while video game developer High Voltage Software and avionics specialist Performance Software chose New Orleans, and Stixis Technologies and qalytics LLC announced projects at the Louisiana Technology Park in Baton Rouge.
The logistics sector highlighted New Orleans’ growth, with Chiquita Brands International returning banana and produce shipments to the city from Mississippi. Publicly traded International Shipholding Corp. announced its headquarters relocation to New Orleans from Alabama, and TCI Plastics announced a new 500,000-square-foot logistics facility at the Port of New Orleans for shipping the state’s growing output of plastics.
Cheniere Energy announced its liquefied natural gas project in Southwest Louisiana would expand from a $12 billion total investment to $18 billion, with Sempra Energy launching construction of a $6 billion LNG project and Venture Global LNG announcing a $4.25 billion LNG project, all in Cameron Parish.
Along the Mississippi River, major industrial announcements included Marathon Petroleum’s potential $2.5 billion residual oil upgrade project and new methanol complexes to be developed by Yuhuang Chemical ($1.85 billion) and Castleton Commodities International ($1.2 billion).
Electric utilities contractor Crest Industries announced an expansion of its headquarters in Central Louisiana (195 new direct and indirect jobs, $2.3 million capital investment), while IntegriCo Composites announced the relocation of its headquarters from Texas to Springhill in north Louisiana, creating 300 new direct jobs and making a $20 million capital investment in next-generation railroad materials.
In addition to the No. 1 business climate ranking, Business Facilities ranked Louisiana’s LED FastStart® the No. 1 state workforce program in the nation for the fifth consecutive year, Site Selection magazine ranked Louisiana’s business climate No. 2 in the U.S., and Chief Executive ranked Louisiana No. 9 and the most-improved state for business over the past four years.