Big Blue to Red Stick?

Big Blue to Red Stick?

Baton Rouge is a finalist to land a deal that would bring an IBM facility to downtown. Though officials are tight-lipped about the potential deal, sources confirm it would yield more than 500 jobs and involve a partnership with LSU. Over the past few months, IBM officials have looked at several downtown sites, including the Manship property that formerly housed The Advocate and the Capital One Bank Building, which sources say would be torn down to make way for a new facility and parking garage.

A source with connections to LSU says there were discussions several months ago to potentially have the state build a facility on the university's south campus, with IBM and LSU sharing space. There is no confirmed word on when IBM will make a decision, though multiple sources indicated one was expected within the next month.

A city outside of Louisiana is also in the running for the project.

CPEX Director Elizabeth “Boo” Thomas says if Baton Rouge were to land the deal, it would be a game changer for the metro area and would validate the public investment that has been made downtown over the past two decades.

“This would be a dream come true,” she says. “It would be the biggest physical symbol of the success of our downtown plan and show the benefit of public investment yielding sustained private investment.”

Mayor Kip Holden and DDD Executive Director Davis Rhorer declined to comment. LED Secretary Stephen Moret issued a statement saying, “For competitive reasons and to protect confidential company information, we can't comment on current or potential prospects.”

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