Davies updates IBM, Acadian Village projects

The groundbreaking for IBM’s software development center in downtown Baton Rouge will happen in September, the CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation said Wednesday.

John Davies, BRAF CEO, also told the Baton Rouge Rotary Club that the Acadian Village Shopping Center is set to open Oct. 1.

He said the Lemoine Co. has been selected as contractor for the IBM-related project.

“If you kind of do the math, you’ll know we’re really in a sprint,” Davies said.

IBM is set to open its eight-story office building by spring 2015 and the residential section of the development will open in the summer or fall. The building will go up on a site on Lafayette Street, bordered by North and Main streets and River Road, that was once home for The Advocate offices.

The BRAF-affiliated Wilbur Marvin Foundation will own the $55 million project, which will include a $30 million office building for IBM and a $25 million residential tower. The residential tower will contain 95 apartments and nine luxury townhomes. A 24,000-square-foot terrace will connect the two buildings, Davies said.

Another Wilbur Marvin Foundation project, the 54,000-square-foot Acadian Village Shopping Center at Perkins Road and Acadian Thruway, will be anchored by Trader Joe’s. Davies said the $18 million property is “85 percent leased” with a mix of national, regional and local tenants such as Kean’s Fine Dry Cleaning, The Keeping Room, Nadeau Furniture with a Soul, Petco, Pei Wei and La Divina Italian Cafe.

Buquet & LeBlanc is the contractor for the retail center.

The final major project the Wilbur Marvin Foundation is involved in is 5401 North in Raleigh, N.C., a 400-acre mixed-use development. The $1.2 billion project will eventually include 1 million square feet of office space, 22,000 home sites and a community college.

Davies said 5401 North is the kind of large-scale project the foundation wants to get involved in: economically diverse, environmentally friendly and profitable.

BRAF has $580 million in assets and is the 27th-largest community foundation in the country. The organization will mark its 50th anniversary in 2014.

“You’ll be seeing a lot more of us,” Davies said. “But our celebration recognizes we are nothing but a vehicle for the extraordinary leaders we have in this community.”