Bill Would Give State Building To Shreveport City Agency

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A bill pending in the Louisiana Senate would give control of a state office building in Shreveport to a local government agency, part of a plan to consolidate state workers in a new downtown home.

KTBS-TV reports that a Senate committee is scheduled to vote this week on House Bill 773, which passed the House earlier. Under the bill, the state would transfer its current office building to the Shreveport Implementation and Redevelopment Authority, with the state getting 30% of any eventual sales price.

The state is already planning to move workers from the Mary Allen State Office Building, an eight-story art deco structure just south of downtown Shreveport, to a building the state plans to renovate in the city's downtown.

The state bought a long-vacant downtown building, which formerly housed federal workers, for $1.75 million in April. That eight-story building will be gutted and rebuilt with modern offices, providing room for the more than 350 employees now based at Mary Allen, as well as workers from elsewhere in northwest Louisiana.

State employees will continue to work in the Mary Allen building for several years until the renovation is complete. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told The Times of Shreveport in April that maintenance costs at Mary Allen are too high and that workers “deserve a much better facility.”

Shreveport City Council Member LeVette Fuller said she hoped the Mary Allen site could be redeveloped as a mixed-use development that would work well with nearby hospitals, while preserving the building's history. She said the process will give nearby neighbors a greater voice in plans than an outright sale by the state.