Redevelopment at the Madison Parish Port St. John in northeast Louisiana is expected to add 450 jobs in five years, the Louisiana Economic Development department said Monday.
St. John Enterprises Inc. plans to invest $32 million in cranes, machinery and other upgrades at a 100,000-square-foot facility on 56 acres at the Tallulah port.
St. John Enterprises selected Louisiana for its new barge-building operation in competition with sites in three other Southern states, the state agency said.
St. John Enterprises CEO Ron Lewis said the company’s vision for Madison Parish is a long-term one. St. John Enterprises succeeds a former Northrop Grumman operation that closed in December and meant the loss of about 100 jobs.
St. John plans to hire 104 people in its first year, with production starting by late October, and to increase employment to 454 by 2016. Average annual pay at the new barge-building operation will exceed $40,000, plus benefits.
At the same time, St. John will continue its barge fleeting, repair and cleaning services at the company’s original location in Garyville, north of New Orleans. Another 50 jobs will be retained at that location.
To secure the project, the state offered an incentive package that includes customized recruitment and training through Louisiana FastStart — LED’s work force development program. The company will receive a $1.4 million performance-based grant to be paid in annual installments over the next decade if St. John meets annual job and payroll targets.
The company is expected to participate in Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs incentive programs. The tax exemption program waives property taxes for up to 10 years on new capital investments for equipment and buildings. The Quality Jobs program allows for salary rebates or investment tax credits if St. John Enterprises meets specific job-creation goals.