Aptim’s uncertainty puts XI United Plaza on the multi-tenant market

For the first time since it was developed in 2002 as the corporate headquarters for The Shaw Group, the 240,000-square-foot XI United Plaza high rise on Essen Lane is being marketed for multi-tenant use.

Currently, Aptim—a spinoff of CB&I, which acquired the Shaw Group in 2013—has a long-term lease on the building.

But that lease expires in May 2022, and it is unclear how much space in the class A building the Houston-based company, which has been downsizing its Louisiana workforce, will retain—if any.

A spokesperson with Aptim declined to comment on the company’s future plans for the Baton Rouge market or on the number of employees it currently has in Baton Rouge or Louisiana.

But the commercial broker working with both Aptim and the building’s owner, Mike Wampold, to sublet the space, now has the building listed for lease on the LACDB, offering potential tenants configurations ranging from as little as 2,000 square feet to more than 150,000 square feet with a lease rate averaging around $25.50 per square foot.

“We are taking it to market as a multitenant alternative,” says Bill Sanders with Beau Box Commercial Real Estate. “It is an outstanding space with a four-story, covered, attached garage, a 1,000-square-foot cafeteria and a gym.”

The decision to market Baton Rouge’s only corporate headquarters high rise for multi-tenant use could be seen as a sign of the times.

The local office market was soft before the pandemic. Since COVID-19, it’s gotten worse, and brokers are cautiously watching the horizon to see what happens when long-term leases come up for renewal in the next couple of years.

“We’re seeing a definite uptick in activity,” Sanders says. “But there’s just still a lot of uncertainty and just not a lot of new businesses moving in. It’s mostly existing businesses moving around.”

The building was unlike any other in Baton Rouge, when Wampold developed it for Jim Bernhard and The Shaw Group. Besides the free garage and employee fitness center, the top floor executive suite is equipped with multiple conference rooms, floor to ceiling windows, and open-air balconies with a view of Tiger Stadium.