Holden discusses BR ties with Taiwan

DDD opens office, reports 36 projects

Mayor-President Kip Holden has forged ties with Taiwan and its capital city of Taipei, saying Thursday evening that partnerships created on his recent trip there will bear fruit in the coming years.

Holden, who was speaking to a gathering of young downtown entrepreneurs hosted by the Downtown Development District, said Taiwanese officials have committed to bring a delegation of businesses and investors looking for expansion opportunities to Baton Rouge in the next two years.

He said officials in Taipei had already contacted the Louisiana Technology Park by the time he had returned from the weeklong trip on June 16.

Holden also said Baton Rouge now has a partnership with the Taiwan Design Center, which was created by the Taiwanese government in 2004 to promote creative design and economic development.

Holden made his remarks while introducing the official opening of the DDD office, known as the Design Resource Center. That event was focused on young entrepreneurs, and Executive Director Davis Rhorer extolled the virtues of the roughly 50 young entrepreneurs, who have about 36 projects going downtown.

One of them, Michael Lang, who is redeveloping the Commerce Building with T.J. Iarocci, told the group that floorplans are now being devised for the 100-unit apartment development in the former office building. He said the team is in discussions with two local grocery store operators about bringing downtown a full-service grocery store.