After several years of a holding pattern, thanks to the COVID pandemic, it’s easy to see that northwest Louisiana has been making strides in economic development in recent years.
The region has seen a number of new businesses and investments, several of them featured in this very edition of BIZ.
News broke late last month that Prolec GE USA is investing $28.5 million to expand its Caddo Parish facility to manufacture electrical transformers used in wind farms, solar parks and other industrial and renewable energy applications. That joined the much welcomed news in mid-April that thyssenkrupp Supply Chain Services, Inc, a leader in renewable energy logistics, will join Industrial Realty Group’s 3.5 million square foot campus in Shreveport at the old General Motors plant. Lastly, the Port of Caddo-Bossier is playing the economic development long game by taking steps to get ahead of the needs for attracting large tenants with their securing of water from Bossier City.
These economic development updates were joined bu the unveiling of a new lease on life for the old DiamondJacks property, and several other ongoing initiatives that are expected to bring more growth and opportunity to the area.
Here are some of the latest economic development news and updates from northwest Louisiana.
Amazon Fulfillment Center
One of the biggest economic development projects in northwest Louisiana is the construction of an Amazon fulfillment center in Shreveport. The 3.8 million-square-foot facility is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and will be a major boost to the local economy. The center is set to open in 2022 and will be one of the largest employers in the region.
Cyber Innovation Center
The Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City is a hub for cybersecurity research and development. The center is home to a number of businesses and organizations that are focused on cybersecurity, including the National Cyber Research Park and the Louisiana Tech Research Institute. The center is also home to the Cyber Innovation Academy, which offers training and education programs for students and professionals.
Port of Caddo-Bossier
The Port of Caddo-Bossier is a major transportation hub for the region, connecting northwest Louisiana to ports along the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The port is home to a number of businesses and industries, including oil and gas, agriculture, and manufacturing. The port is currently undergoing a major expansion, with new infrastructure and facilities being built to accommodate increased traffic and cargo.
Louisiana Film Prize
The Louisiana Film Prize is an annual film festival and competition that takes place in Shreveport. The festival attracts filmmakers from around the world and has helped to establish northwest Louisiana as a destination for film production. The festival also provides an economic boost to the region, with visitors spending money on hotels, restaurants, and other local businesses.
Northwest Louisiana is home to several Opportunity Zones, which are designated areas that offer tax incentives to businesses and investors. These zones are designed to encourage economic development in areas that have been historically disadvantaged or underserved. The Opportunity Zones in northwest Louisiana include parts of Shreveport, Bossier City, and Ruston.
Overall, the economic development news in northwest Louisiana is positive and shows that the region is making progress in attracting new businesses and investments. With initiatives like the Amazon fulfillment center, the Cyber Innovation Center, and the Port of Caddo-Bossier, the region is poised for continued growth and opportunity.
David A. Specht Jr. is publisher and editor of BIZ. and President of Specht Newspapers, Inc.