Community leaders break ground on $55M urban development

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Governor Bobby Jindal and IBM Senior Vice President Colleen Arnold joined other leaders to break ground on the $55 million urban development in downtown Baton Rouge that will be home to the new IBM Services Center in mid-2015.

The project will reportedly create 800 new direct jobs, and LED estimates the project will result in an additional 542 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,300 new permanent jobs according to economic development estimates.

The IBM technology center has already been operating at its temporary space in an Essen Lane office in Baton Rouge and employs more than 100 people. The company's Baton Rouge operation develops software applications and other business solutions for domestic customers, and IBM represents the single, largest software development project attracted to Louisiana in what is becoming a rapidly expanding sector for the state.

Governor 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. IBM joins a long list of technology companies that have expanded or established offices in Louisiana since 2008, all of which are collectively on track to create more than 3,200 new direct jobs and thousands more indirect jobs in Louisiana. These wins are proof that Louisiana's growing economy is quickly becoming a beacon for the digital media and software industries."

LSU Computer science Dean Richard Koubek says the freshmen enrollment is up 55 percent since IBM announced it would build the facility here in Baton Rouge. Koubek also says IBM employees are working with them to develop courses which will aid in recruiting efforts.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.