The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has unveiled plans for its new downtown headquarters at 500 Main St. and plans to begin renovating the building in early September.
LABI acquired the building and land in July 2017 for $2.7 million from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s real estate company, Commercial Properties Realty Trust, and has spent much of the past two years gathering input from members and developing a plan for the roughly $3 million renovation, which was designed by New Orleans architects Eskew Dumez Ripple. Those plans include:
• A ground-floor conference center with modular components that can shift to accommodate a range of events and functions, with seating capacity up to 150.
• Conference rooms and office space for individuals and LABI members from across the state, who are looking for work or meeting space while in town.
• A professional kitchen and outdoor entertaining space with catering capability for events.
• A professional recording studio.
LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack calls the new facility a “game-changer” that will enable businesses and business groups across the state to work more collaboratively.
“This space will become one of the best state chamber facilities in the country and modernize how the state business community can collaborate with partners across the state,” he says. “Our members have long wanted a space to help them feed off the energy and ideas of their colleagues from all parts of Louisiana and this facility will soon provide that gathering spot on a daily basis.”
In the two years since acquiring the building, LABI has been temporarily located in the Chase South Tower, as 500 Main St. has been leased to engineering firm Stantec. Later this month, Stantec is making a long-planned relocation to a newly constructed office building on the Water Campus.
(Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its original publication to reflect that Eskew Dumez Ripple is based in New Orleans.)