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tim mueller/courtesy port of gbrMajor industrial investmentcontinues to insulate the Capital Region’seconomy against the slowdowns affectingmuch of the nation. ExxonMobil hasplans for a major expansion in BatonRouge, and Lifguels Corp. is workingwith the state to locate a $5 billion coalgasification facility in Ascension Parishthat would eventually employ 900workers. On the west side of the river,Shintech is building a $1 billion PVCmanufacturing plant in Iberville Parish,where it expects to begin production inearly 2008 and eventually employ up to350 workers. The region is also on thecutting edge of the developing biofuelsindustry, with plants soon to be built inboth Ascension and West Baton Rougeparishes.Research & technologyToday, however, the region’s economicfortunes are less dependent on the riverthan on its universities, which havecourtesy pbrcbegun to accelerate whole new sectors ofthe local economy by driving research,technology transfer, information scienceand workforce development.Two major universities, thrivingcommunity colleges and a strongtechnical college system have become acatalyst for creative new ventures thatare transforming the Capital Regioninto the Creative Capital of the South.Louisiana State University, as a majorland and sea-grant institution, servesas the cornerstone, helping to producethe workforce, the entrepreneurs andthe business startups that will drive theregional economy in the future.The Pennington Biomedical ResearchCenter continues to grow as aninternational storehouse for intellectualcapital in the biological sciences. Acampus of the LSU System, it is thelargest academically based nutritionresearch center in the world. More than80 faculty members and more than600 physicians, scientists and supportpersonnel focus their research effortson six key areas: obesity and diabetes,experimental obesity, functional foods,nutrition and chronic diseases, healthand performance enhancement, andnutrition and the brain. The centeroccupies a 234-acre campus onPerkins Road, with constructionset to begin soon on a newClinical Research Center thatwill add more jobs and researchcapabilities.Southern University, themain campus of the nation’slargest historically black highereducation institution, also takesan aggressive role in pursuinggovernment contracts and partneringwith the regional and statewidebusiness communities.Over the past 10 years, Southern’s“Centers of Excellence” have rapidlyexpanded the university’s capabilitiesin high-tech research and workforcetraining. The Center for Coastal ZoneAssessment and Remote Sensing(CCZARS), for example, was created bya $6 million, five-year grant from NASAthat is now in its fourth year. The centerworks closely with NASA’s Stennis SpaceCenter (located just 75 miles east ofBaton Rouge) and conducts research anddevelopment in areas such as geographicinformation systems, global positioningsystems and remote sensing.don kadairbusinessc r e at i v e c a p i t a l o f t h e s o u t hBaton Rouge area City Guide 200831

usinessc r e at i v e c a p i t a l o f t h e s o u t hBaton Rouge area City Guide 200832carolyn valentine blakleyIncubatorsThe Louisiana Business & TechnologyCenter at LSU is a small business incubatorfocusing on technology companies.Named the 2005 Incubator of the Yearby the National Business IncubationAssociation, the LBTC hasdocumented the creation ofmore than 8,000 jobs andbrought in more than$110 million in equity,grants and loans for incubatorclients. In its20-year history, the incubatorhas graduated 114tenants, with 88 of themstill in business.Another high-tech incubatoris located at the new Bon CarréBusiness Center in Baton Rouge, wherea collaboration between state fundingand private partners helped to create theLouisiana Technology Park. The park,which opened in 2001, provides tailoreddata processing and storage services,high-speed Internet access, first-classoffice space and consulting assistance forstartups, as well as a commercial datacenter. Network Technology Group’s TierIV commercial data center facility—theonly one of its kind between Atlantaand Houston—offers co-location andmanaged hosting, offsite data backupand disaster recovery services, as well asa data network with diverse fiber feedsallowing for bandwidth capacity ondemand.Film & animationThe Capital Region continues to growas a center for the film and animationindustries in the Gulf South. Driven by agenerous statewide tax incentive programfor filmmakers and the region’s immensenatural and cultural resources, the moviebusiness has descended on the CapitalRegion, which has hosted filming for aseries of major Hollywood feature films,including Monster’s Ball, Glory Road, Allthe King’s Men and The Curious Case ofBenjamin Button.In 2007 alone, the Baton Rougeregion saw an economic impactfrom film and televisionproduction exceeding $70 million,with more than 20 film and televisionproductions shooting in the area. Thisvolume is expected to increase as thelocal infrastructure grows. The CelticMedia Centre is now open for businesswith state-of-the-art soundstages, a mixing facility andmany production officeson site. LA Pro Space,based in downtownBaton Rouge, alsooffers competitivelypriced productionoffices that are availablefor short-term lease.And Louisiana MediaProductions is a newlyestablished production andproduction services company.In addition, two new post-productioncompanies, Louisiana Media Services andRiver Road Creative, have set up a homein Baton Rouge within the past year.Their presence in the market complementslocal post-houses such as DigitalF/X, 3rd Coast Digital and LA Post. Onthe west side of the river, Emerald BayouStudios, a full-service Hollywood studio,has begun operations in New Roads, andStudio City Louisiana, a massive, $325million studio facility, is in the planningstages for West Baton Rouge Parish.Downtown Baton Rouge, meanwhile,hosted the fourth annual Red Stick AnimationFestival this spring, the largestanimation festival in the United States.The festival features industry professionalsfrom the top animation studios in theworld. It also highlights the area’s infrastructurefor animation technologies,which includes world-class supercomputers,the Louisiana Center for Artsand Technology at LSU and direct accessto the NationalLambdaRailfiber-opticpipeline.courtesy baton rouge film commissionIn addition to the festival, legislationcreating a digital media tax credit in Louisianahas made the region more appealingto the video game industry, movieanimators and companies that developinteractive simulations for medicine andother applications.Tourism & retailOur history and our natural resourcescontinue to make tourism a significantdriver of many development initiativesand private ventures. It is an industrythat pumps more than $600 milliona year into the parishes of the CapitalRegion, and it is still growing. The areacontinues to sprout new hotel andhospitality projects, highlighted by amajor renovation of the historic CapitolHouse Hotel in downtown Baton Rouge,which reopened as the Hilton CapitolCenter in 2006, and a massive expansionof our world-class convention facility onthe Baton Rouge riverfront, the BatonRouge River Center, completed in 2004.In Baton Rouge alone, more than1,400 new hotel rooms are expectedto open by fall 2008, and the planneddevelopment of a $250 millionresort hotel and casino by PinnacleEntertainment seems sure to spur evenmore growth over the next decade.With a series of bold new commercialdevelopments in Baton Rouge and rapidpopulation growth in outlying areas,the Baton Rouge area is also becoming atrendy, high-end retail hub. Innovativemixed-use projects and lifestyle centershave reimagined commercial andretail development.Bon Carré Business Center

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usinessc r e at i v e c a p i t a l o f t h e s o u t hThe Mall of Louisiana is in the midst ofa major expansion adding an open-airlifestyle center, the Towne Center at CedarLodge has become a hub for trendy,upscale shops and restaurants, and thePerkins Rowe development in South BatonRouge is a major new retail draw thatmixes in a movie theater, condos, offices,hotels and health care services.Other highlights include a sprawlingBass Pro Shops store now open inDenham Springs, a Cabela’s sportinggoods store in Gonzales—bothsurrounded by outlying parcels foradditional retail activity—a new Wal-Mart in West Baton Rouge and a 30-acreretail development in Zachary.TransportationThe Baton Rouge MetropolitanAirport is a state-of-the-arttransportation facility with recentlyremodeled concourse, parking andconcessions areas. The airport’s businessofferings include competitive leasingrates, Foreign Trade Zone, futureindustrial park development, air andground cargo and shipping facilities, andconvienent services such as hotels, fueland car rental.The Port ofGreater BatonRouge, located nextto Interstate 10 inWest Baton RougeParish, connectsthe Capital Regionto hundreds of U.S.and global markets,with nearly 60 milliontons of cargopassing across itsdocks each year.Together with theMississippi River, itforms the hub of alogistics network in the Capital Regionthat includes the Gulf Intracoastal Waterwayand multiple interstate highways,railroads and pipelines.Interstates 10 and 12 join in BatonRouge, providing direct access toHouston, New Orleans, Hammond and(via nearby I-55) Jackson, Miss.For informationThe Baton Rouge Area Chamber (381-7125) offers a variety of informationabout business and industry to thenewcomer. The Baton Rouge Technologybrian baiamonteCouncil (612-2137) is an initiative ofthe Chamber that serves the interests oftechnology companies and technologyusers with information, networkingopportunities and more.Information about the movie industryand supporting infrastructure in theCapital Region is available throughthe Louisiana Capital Area EconomicDevelopment Allies Film Commission(921-8231) or the Baton Rouge FilmCommission (382-3563).A complete list of Capital Regionchambers and economic developmentagencies can be found in our BusinessResources listings, pages 84-87. BRBaton Rouge area City Guide 200834

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