Jobs tied to bond sale

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 8, 2002


HAHNVILLE – The agreement to bring Randa Corporation’s headquarters and distribution center to St. Rose aims to bring 325 jobs to St. Charles Parish.

The world’s largest men’s accessories company, marketing everything from ties to belts, will locate in James Business Park in a 165,000-square foot center on a 9.7-acre site, through a parish-backed bond sale. The $9 million bond sale, expected to be approved next month, for construction of the site will be matched, according to St. Charles Parish Economic Development Director Corey Faucheux, by a state $1 million grant for purchase of the property.

Two resolutions were approved at Monday’s meeting by the St. Charles Parish Council, the first to finance the acquisition, construction and equipping of a corporate headquarters at the business park on Airline Drive near the Louis Armstrong Airport.

Faucheux said he first became aware of Randa’s desire to relocate through MetroVision nine months ago and, with assistance from that quasi-government agency and the state Department of Economic Development, the agreement was worked out to lure Randa to St. Charles Parish and away from its present location in Orleans Parish.

The agreement calls for the parish to build the headquarters and lease it back to Randa in an amount equal to the current ad valorem tax generated by the parcel, approximately $12,260 per year. During the initial 10-year lease period, Randa can earn up to $2.005 million in lease reductions, while during the same period, the parish’s total direct economic benefit exceeds $4.4 million.

A second resolution approved the agreement for the state funds for buying the site. In return, Randa pledged a timetable to maintain and increase employment at the center. That timetable states Randa will maintain its original 197 positions until Dec. 31, 2007, at a total annual payroll of not less than $5.183 million.

Then, an additional 60 employees would be hired by Dec. 31, 2004, at a total annual payroll of not less than $1.111 million; 40 new employees by Dec. 31, 2005, at a total annual payroll of not less than $740,000; and 33 new employees by Dec. 31, 2006, at a total annual payroll of $586,000, and maintain all those new hires through 2007.

Council Member April Black, who represents the St. Rose area, welcomed Randa to the parish, and said, “I’m very pleased the parish is fortunate enough to be chosen.”

She added it was good the company is a low-impact entity, not affecting the environment. Ten sites were under consideration for the relocation, according to a memorandum from Faucheux to Parish President Albert Laque, who also endorsed the agreement.

In other economic development news from Monday’s parish council meeting, the council approved endorsement of Occidental Chemical Corp.’s participation in the Louisiana Enterprise Zone/Quality Jobs Program.

That agreement would exempt Occidental from one-eighth of the current 4 cent sales tax for the Taft industry’s new $100 million cogeneration facility designed to cut their utility costs and make their site one of the most profitable in the corporation, according to plant manager Ron Loving.

The cogeneration plant, begun two years ago, employed 600 contract construction employees and now has 30 full-time employees, plus five contract employees, Loving added, with a $2 annual payroll.

Of those employees, 30 percent are from St. Charles Parish and 40 percent are from the River Parishes.