Breaking GroundLouisiana Projects Progress Toward Completion
Since 2012, Louisiana has experienced a $144 billion industrial boom with dozens of innovative projects announced across several sectors. Now, major phases of several projects are complete or are well underway, thanks to a strategic approach to meet benchmarks in workforce recruitment and training, permitting, infrastructure and more.
In northeast Louisiana, the first phase of German-based steelmaker Benteler’s $975 million project
is now fully operational in Shreveport, Louisiana. Benteler’s state-of-the-art hot rolling seamless steel tube mill opened in late 2015, just two years after the global manufacturer announced its decision to build a $975 million steel manufacturing project Shreveport – its first U.S.-based operation. The new facility, which ultimately includes a separate steel plant, will yield 675 direct jobs and carries a $16.2 billion cumulative economic impact for the region over the next two decades, according a Louisiana State University analysis. Close to 400 employees have already been hired. The balance will be hired after Phase II is complete in 2020.
Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says that while Louisiana has earned high rankings and accolades for its wave of announcements, the state’s commitment to getting projects over the finish line is the real story.
“There’s always a lot of excitement about announcements – and we have been fortunate in Louisiana to have billions in new projects underway,” said Pierson. “But an announcement is a starting point, not a ‘finished point.’”
What occurs after (and often before) an announcement, is a full-thwarted effort with multiple partners to ensure workforce recruitment and training, infrastructure improvements and local permitting are all executed efficiently, says Pierson. In the case of Benteler, the Port of Caddo-Bossier and the Caddo Parish Commission contributed $11.6 million in infrastructure improvements to the support the new facility at the port. To guarantee the company had a trained and ready workforce, the state of Louisiana and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System funded a state-of-the-art manufacturing training facility that prepares workers for jobs at Benteler and other facilities. LED FastStart, the No. 1 workforce training program in the country, has played a key role in creating the training modules that make sure Benteler’s workforce is ready on day one.
Elsewhere around the state, other projects have also been either fully completed or achieved significant benchmarks in hiring employees and getting product to market.
“What occurs after (and often before) an announcement, is a full-thwarted effort with multiple partners to ensure workforce recruitment and training, infrastructure improvements and local permitting are all executed efficiently.”Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson
Gov. John Bel Edwards and CSRA dedicated the company’s completed Integrated Technology Center in Bossier City, Louisiana.
In November 2016, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and CSRA President & CEO Larry Prior dedicated CSRA’s newly completed 96,000-square-foot Integrated Technology Center at the 3,000-acre National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City, Louisiana. The company, which serves as the anchor business at the research park, will host a total of 800 direct jobs by mid-2018. Since the project was first announced in 2015, CSRA has hired 400 employees.
Also in North Louisiana, Fortune 500 telecom CenturyLink employs more than 2,300 in the Monroe area, where the company dedicated 88 acres near its corporate headquarters for the development of Century Village. There, Southern Lifestyle Development is creating a New Urbanist neighborhood enabling residents, employees and guests to take advantage of amenities in the mixed-use development, such as town centers with walkable shopping, parks, hotels and restaurants. In concert with several corporate expansions since 2009, CenturyLink envisioned Century Village as a lifestyle asset that will provide significant housing, recreational and commercial options for its workforce and others in Monroe. The Century Village project also will be home to IBM’s 400-job Client Innovation Center near the CenturyLink campus.
In Lake Charles, Louisiana, South African energy giant Sasol hit the 50 percent completion mark on its world-scale ethane cracker facility in fall 2016. The $11 billion project is one of the state’s largest economic development projects to date, and also includes six downstream chemicals units. The ethane cracker facility will have the capacity to produce about 1.5 million tons of ethylene a year.
In the Baton Rouge region in 2016, manufacturer Methanex successfully completed the $550 million relocation of two of its plant operations from Punta Arenas, Chile, to a site on the Mississippi River at Geismar, Louisiana, establishing a permanent workforce there of more than 160 full-time employees. The project was originally announced in 2013. Methanex produces methanol, a liquid chemical used as a fuel alternative and a key component in the production of derivatives.
CGI moved into its new $13.1 million facility at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Research Park in 2016.
Montreal-based technology company CGI announced in 2014 its decision to open a technology center at the 143-acre University of Louisiana Lafayette Research Park. This 400-job project is enabling the company, the fifth largest independent IT and business process services provider, to better serve its onshore customers. CGI first opened operations at a temporary location in downtown Lafayette in 2015, and moved into its new, ground-up $13.1 million facility at the research park in 2016.
Louisiana also saw the recent completion of Dyno Nobel’s $850 ammonia production plant, a key component of the company’s explosives manufacture division. The ammonia production plant is based inside Cornerstone Chemical Company’s manufacturing complex at Waggaman, Louisiana. Cornerstone invested $175 million in upgrades to prepare the site for the project. The $850 million ammonia project creates 65 jobs a year and enables the company to produce 800,000 metric tons of ammonia.
On the heels of these major projects, numerous others are in the works across the state, representing capital investment in the billions of dollars and jobs by the thousands. The sound of construction activity is, on many levels, the sound of progress.