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Jindal announces Lafayette, New Orleans economic development projects

Written by  // Monday, 28 April 2014 16:18 //

jindal-GE-new-orleansToday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal did what some believe he does best--announcing--yet, another major economic development project win.  Today, his administration made two announcements, one concerning a technology center in Lafayette and the second at the Port of New Orleans.

 

Here are the two announcements:

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal and CGI executive James Peake announced the company’s selection of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Research Park for the establishment of a technology center that will create 400 direct jobs. The technology center, which will become an anchor tenant of the 143-acre Research Park, will develop complex business and IT solutions for clients seeking services from a technology partner that shares a common time zone, language and understanding of client business operations. CGI selected Lafayette after a nearly two-year site-selection process during which many locations across the country were considered.
 
Following projects such as GE Capital in New Orleans, IBM in Baton Rouge, CSC in Bossier City and the earlier CenturyLink expansion in Monroe, this latest project establishes another higher education investment to deliver a significantly higher number of graduates in computer science and related quantitative-intense fields for the company and other employers in the region. A key part of the project includes a state-funded, 10-year, $4.5 million higher education initiative led by UL Lafayette that will result in a tripling of the number of undergraduate degrees awarded annually by the university’s School of Computing and Informatics. That growth is anticipated to place the university’s computer science program among the Top 25 such programs nationally for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded annually.

At full employment, the center will have a total annual payroll of about $22 million. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 405 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 800 new permanent jobs in Acadiana.

Governor Jindal said, “CGI is among the world’s leading providers of IT and business process services and represents yet another significant win for Louisiana’s fast-growing technology sector. This project provides further validation of our work to create a new Louisiana. We took office in 2008 with a pledge that we would do everything in our power to create a better business climate to help our existing employers retain and grow jobs – and we’ve done just that. We also said we would aggressively recruit major new employers to provide the jobs of the future for our young people – and we’re doing just that. Companies are choosing Louisiana because we offer a highly rated business climate and a competitive workforce with great talent and desire. The arrival of CGI in Lafayette means we will retain even more of our best and brightest graduates while also recruiting out-of-state talent who will recognize Louisiana as the best state for business and career opportunity.”

Founded in 1976, CGI is based in Montreal with U.S. headquarters in Fairfax, Va. The company employs more than 68,000 professionals in 40 nations and counts major government agencies and corporations among its clients. In its 2013 fiscal year, CGI recorded revenue of approximately $10 billion.

“We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the economic growth and vision of Lafayette and the surrounding region,” said Peake, a U.S. Army retired lieutenant general and the president of CGI Federal, a wholly owned subsidiary of CGI serving clients in the civilian, defense and intelligence sectors of the U.S. government. “Our partnership with Lafayette represents a groundbreaking model for CGI – bringing together the local community to identify opportunities for innovation that can be applied globally, while tapping the talent and resources of Louisiana. As a continuation of our relationship with the state, this partnership will help create 400 jobs and serve as a model of corporate-community cooperation for keeping technology jobs in America. We congratulate the State of Louisiana and the Lafayette community on this comprehensive, innovative program.”

LED began discussions with CGI about a potential Louisiana technology center in August 2012. To secure the project, LED offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a performance-based grant of $5.3 million to reimburse personnel relocation, recruitment, training and building operating costs. CGI will receive the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart® and is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Digital Interactive Media and Software Development incentives.

“This collaboration will enable the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to build on its strong legacy in computer science,” UL Lafayette President Joseph Savoie said. “Through our strategic partnership with CGI, we will provide students with the knowledge and specific computer science skills needed by the software industry. This marriage of higher education and business will lead to innovation that is an essential element of today’s knowledge economy. By providing professionals needed by high-tech companies, UL Lafayette will play a key role in developing Louisiana’s economy.”

Local incentives for the project will include a grant not to exceed $1.1 million from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, or LEDA, for the reimbursement of relocation costs and operating costs in a temporary location. UL Lafayette will provide a 10-year land lease that will include a $600,000 in-kind contribution by the university for the first five years of the project, matched by a $400,000 performance-based state grant to the company over the sixth through 10th years of the lease.

“We are excited to welcome CGI to our community,” Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said. “The jobs that they are bringing to Lafayette are exactly those we envisioned when we started the fiber project 10 years ago – the jobs that are good, clean, high-paying and help our young people stay home. So it is great to see our fiber investment take root in tangible ways like this one. We are thrilled to work with CGI and its members to help make Lafayette the best place to work, live, and raise a family.”

“Today’s announcement by CGI is the culmination of more than 30 years of building a reputation that Lafayette, La., is a premier technology hub – not only in the South but in the entire U.S,” said President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “CGI officials recognize the strength of UL Lafayette’s superior education programs and specialized centers, and the community’s assets and innovative spirit. CGI’s decision to locate more than 400 jobs in Lafayette is another step in keeping our highly trained graduates in the area and in attracting those who want to make their home in Acadiana. At LEDA, we look forward to continuing our work with CGI as they become an integral part of the University’s Research Park and of our community.”

CGI will lease space for its center in a new 50,000-square-foot, $13.1 million building that is being funded by the State of Louisiana at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Research Park. The building will be owned by UL Lafayette or its affiliated, nonprofit support organization, Ragin’ Cajun Facilities Inc. Construction will begin this year and will be completed by year-end 2015.

CGI will begin hiring in the next few months and begin operations at a temporary location in late 2014. The company will reach full employment of 400 professionals within the next four years. Additional information about the company’s hiring plans will be made available online in the coming months.

About CGI
Founded in 1976, CGI Group Inc. is the fifth-largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. Approximately 68,000 professionals serve thousands of global clients from offices and delivery centers across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, leveraging a comprehensive portfolio of services that include high-end business and IT consulting, systems integration, application development and maintenance, and infrastructure management, as well as a wide range of proprietary solutions. CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB). For more information, visit www.cgi.com.

 

Company will build 500,000-square-foot logistics facility and create 160 new direct jobs

NEW ORLEANS — Today, Governor Bobby Jindal and CEO Jack Jensen of Jensen Companies announced the development of a new 500,000-square-foot logistics facility by TCI Plastics – a Jensen Companies division – at the Port of New Orleans. TCI will make a $36.5 million capital investment to build the facility at its France Road Wharf hub, and the project will create 160 new direct jobs with an average salary of more than $33,400, plus benefits. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 183 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 340 new jobs. TCI and Jensen Companies also will retain 200 existing jobs in the state, 120 of them in New Orleans.

The new project continues TCI’s development of a mega-plastics district along a Gentilly inner harbor cargo site, located between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. In July 2010, Gov. Jindal and CEO Jack Jensen first announced a 150,000-square-foot facility to package and export plastics primarily produced by Louisiana chemical industries. The new additional 500,000-square-foot facility announced today will increase the company’s ability to package and ship PVC resin and polyethylene while adding the manufacturing capability of producing plastic film on site to package the products. A substantial increase in plastics-based chemical production in Louisiana is driving the expansion.

Governor Jindal said, “Here at one of the world’s greatest port cities, we are encouraging the expansion of major logistics facilities that will capture the tremendous growth we’re seeing in our state’s chemical industry. This growth can be further linked to Louisiana’s favorable business climate and strong, quality workforce. We’re proud that this investment joins a long list of expansions in our state that will provide additional new career opportunities for the people of New Orleans and the Southeast Region.”

As part of the project, TCI will acquire 32 acres from the Port of New Orleans for $3.1 million. That property near its existing France Road operations will provide space for the new 500,000-square-foot building and additional expansion in the future. To meet the growing plastics shipping demand, TCI has leased more than 150,000 square feet of existing warehouse space and installed equipment at the Governor Nicholls Street Wharf in downtown New Orleans. The next expansion will enable TCI to build a state-of-the-art facility with new rail access to the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad that serves the port.“This is a great day for us all,” Jensen said. “Our city, our state and our port are competing for super-regional economic development opportunities – and we are winning them. TCI is ready to play its part in the value-added supply chain needed to keep Louisiana petrochemicals moving through Louisiana ports. Collectively, we have proven there’s appropriate infrastructure to handle this next wave of petrochemical investments right here in Louisiana, so quite literally there’s no place like home.”

LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, began discussing expansion possibilities with TCI in July 2012. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes an $800,000 performance-based Economic Development Award Program grant, which will be used to offset the costs of building a rail spur connecting the TCI facility to the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. That rail line provides access to all six Class I railroads, making New Orleans the nation’s only seaport with such access. TCI also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

TCI Plastics will begin construction of the project in mid-2014, and the facility is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2016. The company will create 50 new direct jobs by 2015 and reach the full employment of 160 new jobs by 2020.

“Today’s announcement marks the culmination of a lot of hard work by the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans and our staff and economic development officials,” port President and CEO Gary LaGrange said. “TCI is a valued partner and a key player to capture new chemical cargoes primarily produced right here in Louisiana. We look forward to TCI's continued growth and success.”

“Greater New Orleans Inc. is proud to have played a leading role in assisting TCI with this major expansion effort,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of GNO Inc. “The creation of this new plastics facility signifies the magnitude of opportunity for value-added manufacturing in greater New Orleans. We look forward to continuing to work with TCI to ensure their ongoing success.”

 

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