Around Town

CGI moves Downtown at end of February

by Wynce Nolley

Montreal-based IT company will take over the old Advertiser building on Jefferson Street for the next two to three years.

The 13,680-square-foot interior of the old Advertiser building Downtown nears "white box" condition, a developer's term for gutted down to bare walls and ceilings.

Photo by Robin May

The old Advertiser building in Downtown Lafayette is entering the final stages of its extensive renovations before its new tenant, CGI Federal, moves in at the end of February.

“It’s quite an extensive project they’re undertaking, but hopefully within the next two to three months we can start moving them in; it’s looking like the end of February,” says Mark Van Eaton, an agent for Beau Box Real Estate, the Lafayette commercial development company handling the renovations. “They’ve done the roof already with HVAC systems. It’s been completely gutted out, and now it’s just a matter of building out the interior space to their specifications.”

According to Van Eaton, the building will accommodate roughly 250 new employees from the local area once it is fully functional.

In April, Montreal-based CGI Federal, an information technology company, announced its decision to establish a technology center in UL Lafayette’s Research Park and create 400 direct jobs. The old Advertiser building Downtown will house its local operations in the interim, likely two to three years. CGI, which will ultimately become an anchor tenant of the 143-acre Research Park, will develop complex business and IT solutions for clients.

“It’s definitely going to be a boost for the Downtown environment,” says Van Eaton. “They’re going to be doing a lot of new hires from the local area, so I think it’s really going to be good for the Downtown area in general. They’re going to be creating and bringing additional revenue to the Downtown area, and I think all of that is going to filter in and revitalize other properties in the area.”

Beau Box Real Estate is managing the upcoming lease for JD Property Management, the company that owns the old Advertiser building along with three other nearby properties that surround what is currently a wide open space but will soon be converted into a new parking lot for the incoming CGI employees.

“I think that will help facilitate getting these buildings leased out and get them back into production, which they have not been in production since at least 2006,” says Van Eaton. “So that I think will help spur more development and more occupancy in the Downtown area.”

At full employment locally, CGI will have a total annual payroll of about $22 million. The project will result in an additional 405 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 800 new permanent jobs in Acadiana.