The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the state's leading business lobby, held a ceremony Thursday morning to mark the start of remodeling on its new downtown offices.
LABI hopes to open the office at 500 Main St. by February. The organization has been temporarily based out of the Chase South Tower for the past two years, while it waited for Stantec to move into its new office in the Water Campus.
Stephen Waguespack, president and chief executive officer of LABI, noted that the organization got its start downtown in 1975 the old Heidelberg/Capitol House Hotel, now the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. One of the employees who worked for LABI when it was downtown was East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
Moving back downtown has been a longstanding goal of Waguespack. He envisions the new offices will be a "hangout space" for Louisiana businesses that need to call on the Legislature.
Eskew Dumez Ripple of New Orleans is the architect for the interior work and Faulk & Meek of Baton Rouge is the general contractor.