Six months after landing what’s billed as the single largest jobs announcement in New Orleans’ history, local and state officials and business leaders on Wednesday dedicated the DXC Technology Building, the Poydras Street high-rise that spent decades as the headquarters for global mining giant Freeport-McMoRan.
“The entire world is digitizing. We need people, skills and new capacities in our young professionals in order to be able to deliver that demand, not only locally, but to the U.S. and the world,” said Jim Smith, an executive vice president with DXC. “The people that will work here will have vital skills, skills of the future, skills of growth. That’s what the Digital Transformation Center is all about.”
The building’s new moniker comes as the Poydras Street skyline undergoes a revamp that’s more symbolic than physical, with One Shell Square — once a key symbol of an era when Louisiana's fortunes soared on oil and gas — no longer bearing the oil giant’s name.
DXC Technology, valued at more than $25 billion, said in November it would open a 2,000-job Digital Transformation Center in New Orleans. Employees will focus on developing and delivering innovative approaches and solutions for clients in areas including cloud computing, cybersecurity and data analytics.
The sleek new offices include shared working spaces and an array of meeting spaces of varying sizes and names, including “conference” (eight chairs), “huddle” (four chairs) and “focus” (one chair).
Earlier this year, DXC began using temporary space in the building as it renovated its permanent space. The company expects to fill 300 jobs — largely information technology and business positions — in 2018, then ramp up to 2,000 jobs over five years. Eventually, it plans to lease up to 10 floors of the 23-floor building.
DXC is about the 110th largest company in the world, with 170,000 global employees and nearly 6,000 clients. Its local payroll is expected to exceed $133 million by 2025.
The Virginia-based company was formed last year from a merger of CSC and the enterprise services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprises. Its New Orleans office marks the clearest sign of success in a decade-long effort by state and local officials to position Louisiana and New Orleans as a fledgling technology hub, using tax credits as a recruitment tool and the city's culture as a key selling point.
To land the deal, Louisiana Economic Development offered DXC an incentive package valued at about $115 million. As part of that, the state will fund a $25 million incentive aimed at expanding the number of degrees that Louisiana colleges and universities award annually in science, technology, engineering and math.
New Orleans also is kicking in about $6.5 million in incentives.
The jobs, expected to pay $63,000 annually on average, include an array of tech jobs as well as positions such as project managers, business analysts, software developers and engineers.
An economic impact analysis performed by the LSU Economics & Policy Research Group estimated that DXC would bring with it more than $64 million in new Louisiana taxes, $868 million in new Louisiana earnings and total economic output of $3.2 billion from 2018 through 2025.
Meanwhile, Freeport-McMoRan still maintains an office in the building. The company moved its headquarters to New Orleans in 1985 but left for Phoenix following its $25.9 billion buyout of Phelps Dodge Corp. in 2007.