Construction Underway for New State Building in Downtown Shreveport
The demolition and reconstruction of a new LA State Building in Shreveport is expected to help rejuvenate Downtown.
Groundbreaking and work got underway this week for the future Northwest Louisiana State Office Building. The longtime executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, Liz Swaine, explains, “It’s a big deal in every way you can imagine. It’s also wonderful to have the state where we’ve always believed they should be, which is in our downtown.”
When constructed in 1972, the public knew it as the Joe D. Waggoner Federal Building at 500 Fannin Street and built in 1972. The structure will be gutted down to its steel frame and then rebuilt. The $80 million renovation is expected to transform the building into a state-of-the-art facility. Swaine says this is a good sign from the state. “We’re thrilled to see investment from the state of Louisiana. We’re thrilled to see a building that has been very blighted, has been vacant for more than twenty years, did not have many prospects, quite honestly.”
When the nearly 400 employees move out of their aging building at 1525 Fairfield Avenue, that move is expected to infuse more energy and activity into the downtown area. This new group of state workers will join all the city and parish employees already working at government plaza.
As head of the DDA, Swaine explains why this project is so important for the future of downtown Shreveport: “Number one, we have not had a lot of investment from the state of Louisiana in our downtown. When you think about downtown Baton Rouge, our state capital, so many parking garages are owned or built by the state of Louisiana. It has really created the downtown that they see today.” Swaine points out that all that state spending, in turn, “jump started” private development in Baton Rouge. And she believes the same thing can happen here.
As for the conditions inside the half-century old structure, calling this a reclamation project doesn’t really do it justice. As Swaine spelled out. “Still had four floors of active asbestos contamination in it. The parking garage, that was attached to it, had collapsed. I mean there was so few takers out in the world for this building, quite honestly.” The eight-story building has 155,000 square feet of office space. The project is now Phase 1, which means this part of the project is expected to be completed by July 14, 2024. The goal is to have the entire building completed by late 2025/2026.