Capital Region sees range of economic wins

It wasn’t just the petrochemical industry that was booming with new projects in 2012. Throughout the year, economic development wins were being announced in south Louisiana and statewide. Here are the projects announced in the Capital Region.

West Sanitation Services announced in January it would move its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities to Baton Rouge. The company, which manufacturers and distributes odor control products for commercial and institutional restrooms, said the relocation will add 30 jobs.

Union Pacific spent $200 million on its south Louisiana operations during 2012, a move that created 225 new jobs and 1,500 construction jobs at its peak. The project had three components: a new support yard in St. James Parish; an additional 29 miles of track from Livonia to Addis, providing dual lines for greater capacity; and the addition of more staging slots in Livonia.

SE Tylose, a sister company of Shintech, announced it would invest $120 million to build a hydroxyethyl cellulose, or HEC, plant at Shintech Louisiana’s Plaquemine site. HEC is used in latex paints to create water-soluble coatings, to adjust viscosity, to improve adhesiveness and to prevent sedimentation of the colorants. The project, set to open in 2014, will create 30 new jobs.

DMC Carter Chambers, which supplies valves, safety systems, transmitters, gauges and control systems, started work on a new Baton Rouge headquarters on Highland Road, a $10 million expansion. The new offices should be open in 2013 and the company expects to add 80 jobs over the next nine years.

Ameritas Technologies announced it will open an information technology center in downtown Baton Rouge. The company started to move into the Chase building toward the end of the year. Ameritas said it will hire 150 employees by 2014 and have 300 workers by 2016.

PreSonus Audio Electronics started work on a new research and headquarters facility on Highland Road. The $8 million project will replace PreSonus’ existing location in the Bon Carré Business Center. The expansion is set for completion in August 2013 and PreSonus expects to hire more than 65 people over the next three years.

Avalon Rare Earth Metals announced it had selected Geismar as the site for a $300 million rare earth elements separation plant and refinery. Avalon will make a final decision on the site in 2013. If approved, the project would create 175 new jobs.

Exxon Mobil started work on a $215 million expansion of its chemical and lubricants plants in Baton Rouge and Port Allen, a move that will add 45 new jobs. The investment will allow the facilities to produce synthetic lubricants used in aircraft engines. The base stocks will be manufactured in Baton Rouge, while the chemicals will be blended, packaged and stored in Port Allen.

nEmerson Process Management said it will open its new $10 million regional headquarters in Gonzales by October 2013. Emerson helps industrial customers automate production and processing for chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment plants. The expansion is set to add 50 new jobs.

Nachurs Alpine Solutions started a $13.9 million renovation of the Ciba-Geigy site in St. Gabriel. Plans are to open a fertilizer manufacturing and distribution plant by mid-2014. The facility will create 16 new jobs.

LocalMed, a health-care software company that got its start in the LSU Student Incubator at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center, announced it was moving to Sherwood Forest Boulevard and had plans to hire 52 employees by 2016. The company develops software that allows patients to schedule appointments through their computer, smartphone or tablet at any time with participating doctors and dentists. The company is set to launch in early 2013 and will have about 25 employees by the end of the year.

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