BRAC Announces New Center for Economic Development
Complete renovation of downtown office underway
Baton Rouge, La. (November 16, 2017) – BRAC today announced details of its plan to redesign and expand its downtown location into the Center for Economic Development, a $3.5 million project that will reimagine the space as an iconic, modern business hub with nearly 11,000 square feet of space.
“Twelve years ago, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber reinvented itself into a sophisticated regional economic development organization, and the transformation of its office space is the final step of that evolution,” said Jim Ellis, chair of BRAC’s Building Committee. “With a new space, BRAC’s Center will further our mission of leading economic development for the nine-parish area, supporting the business community, and assisting with job growth. On behalf of the BRAC Board of Directors, we are pleased to lead this major step forward for this organization and the region’s business community.”
“The timing of this building project is fantastic for the region and the organization,” noted Lee Jenkins, chair of BRAC’s Board of Directors. “The City of Baton Rouge is celebrating its bicentennial, and BRAC is a few years away from celebrating its centennial. Our BRAC Board was pleased to be able to make a commitment to the long-term future of our region and city by committing to this investment. It will serve all of us in the region for decades to come.”
The renovation plans call for expansive meeting rooms, high-tech presentation spaces, an open floor plan with collaborative work stations, as well as a new, large conference center that will be able to host BRAC Board and other large meetings and training sessions. The large conference room will also be available for other organizations, businesses, and nonprofits to use. The flexibility and additional space will make possible new partnerships with small business and entrepreneurial training programs, research resources for businesses, and other nonprofits. A new courtyard on the 6th Street side of the building will also make the conference center accessible as an indoor-outdoor environment.
“We are very excited, and, frankly, this is long, long overdue. We are making an investment in our community and region by creating an incredible new physical space to serve the needs of the business community,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “A new, visionary design for BRAC’s office will better enable us to engage and support the business community and lead economic development in the region. We’re grateful for lead donors who have gotten this project going, and for the continued support of the region’s business community to ensure that the Baton Rouge Area is as competitive as possible when assisting area employers and showcasing the Baton Rouge Area to visitors. The Center for Economic Development will be the anchor facility for the Capital Region’s business community, and we look forward to opening its doors in 2018.”
BRAC was first organized and incorporated as the Baton Rouge Area Chamber in 1921. The original BRAC office building was built on the site at the intersection of Laurel Street and 6th Street in downtown Baton Rouge in 1955. The building was last renovated in the mid-1980s. Pictures of the original building and the earlier renovation are available upon request by media.
Fundraising for the building is underway, with commitments to date nearing $1 million. Supporters include Baton Rouge Business Report, Capital One Bank, Cox Communications, Entergy Louisiana, Mr. Don Gerald, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, and Manship Media.
Several naming opportunities remain. Opportunities may be discussed directly with Alexandra Bautsch Grunewald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-933-8124.
More information on the renovation project, including a fly-through video and a rendering photo library, can be found online at brac.org/building.
Project cost: $3.5 million
Renovation + Expansion: 10,800 square feet
Timeline: Summer 2018
Architecture firm: WHLC Architecture
Contractor: Milton J. Womack
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.org.