Specialty retailer to open 250,000-square-foot logistics facility in West Baton Rouge Parish
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Conn's Inc. Chairman and CEO Norm Miller announced the Houston-based specialty retailer of furniture, mattresses, home appliances and consumer electronics will open a 250,000-square-foot distribution center in Louisiana, locating the multistate logistics facility in West Baton Rouge Parish. Conn's HomePlus will be the major tenant in a new distribution complex to be built on Commercial Drive between the Port Allen and Lobdell exits along Interstate 10.
With the project, Conn's HomePlus will make a $5.7 million capital investment to build-out its distribution space and will create 70 new direct jobs with an average salary of over $41,300, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 59 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 125 new jobs in Louisiana's Capital Region.
"Consumer goods are vital to our economy, which makes the distribution sector so important in our state," Gov. Edwards said. "With eight Conn's HomePlus stores in Louisiana, and more to come, this distribution facility will serve consumers throughout our state, as well as shoppers in Mississippi and Alabama. We welcome this strong distribution investment by Conn's and the quality jobs it will bring to Port Allen and West Baton Rouge Parish."
The announcement comes on the heels of Conn’s HomePlus continuing its expansion into Louisiana, opening a second store in Baton Rouge recently and completing three additional stores in the New Orleans market this year. Conn's HomePlus opened a store in Harvey in February, with store openings slated for Slidell and Metairie this summer. Conn's HomePlus currently operates 127 retail locations across 14 states.
"The new distribution center will not only grow our presence in Louisiana, but will also serve as a gateway to better serve our customers in the Southeast," Miller said. "The company is committed to continued economic expansion and further solidifying our community commitment in the state."
CAP Industrial Park I LLC, represented by Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate, is the development company that will build the distribution center and lease it to Conn's. Groundbreaking is expected by June 2019, with completion approximately one year later. In addition to Conn's capital investment, the developer will make a $17 million capital investment to build the distribution center.
"I am delighted to learn that Conn's is coming to West Baton Rouge Parish," said Parish President Riley L. Berthelot Jr. "Their plans to make a $5.7 million capital investment to build their 250,000-square-foot distribution center is certainly great news. This new distribution center is a perfect mechanism to stabilize and diversify our economy, and we welcome the opportunities they will bring."
The Conn's distribution center is the first of two potential logistics facilities on the 34-acre Commercial Drive site. CAP Industrial Park I also is seeking other tenants while completing design work for a potential second distribution building of up to 270,000 square feet.
"The City of Port Allen is extremely excited to hear the news about this potential project with Conn's coming to fruition," Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee said. "It will be located just outside our city limits on Commercial Drive in Westport Industrial Park. Additionally, we acknowledge the major economic impact it will have on our community with new jobs and investments, as our citizens look forward to new job offerings that are closer to their homes. As our small community continues to grow, we look forward to providing Conn's the service they may need, in addition to being a good neighbor."
LED and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber began discussing the potential project with Conn's in October 2018. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $250,000 performance-based grant to offset building costs at the Port Allen distribution center. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana's Quality Jobs Program.
"Conn’s decision to open a distribution facility in West Baton Rouge speaks to the competitive logistics infrastructure system the Capital Region enjoys," said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. "Our team was pleased to work with the leadership at Conn's, our partners in West Baton Rouge, and LED to bring this project – and its new jobs and investment – to the region."
Contributed by Louisiana Economic Development