Ascension Parish tops $3.6 billion in 2012

Staff Writer
Donaldsonville Chief

Ascension Parish - New and expanding companies announced above $3.6 billion in capital investments in Ascension Parish, Louisiana during calendar year 2012.  Three (3) attraction and five (5) expansion projects are projected to create 655 new jobs and generate an estimated $31 million in new annual payrolls in the parish.

The attraction projects include a $550 million announcement by Methanex Corporation involving the relocation of a methanol plant from Chile to the Geismar area.  This project is expected to create 130 direct jobs.  Avalon Rare Metals also selected Geismar as the location for a $353 million heavy rare earth separation plant and refinery.  Avalon is expected to generate 175 direct jobs.  This new facility will take rare earth concentrates from deposits located principally in the Northwest Territories, Canada and ship them by rail to Geismar to be processed into very high value end products for sale throughout the world. 

Major expansions include CF Industries announcement of $2.1 billion in expenditures   to increase production at their ammonia and urea/UAN facilities in Donaldsonville.  The largest announced industrial project in the history of Ascension Parish, CF Industries expansion will create an additional 93 direct jobs.  Westlake Vinyls is expected to spend $467 million on a new chlor alkali facility that will create approximately 60 new jobs.  BASF is investing $130 million in a new formic acid plant that will create 20 new jobs. Emerson Process Management will consolidate its existing operation in Ascension Parish with other operating units in the Gulf Coast into a new $10 million regional headquarters in the City of Gonzales that will create 90 direct new jobs and bring their total employment to approximately 180.

“2012 was a bellwether year for economic development in Ascension Parish.  We have announced the largest project in the history of the parish and we have successfully recruited companies that diversify both the manufacturing and service sector employment base in the parish.  This $3.6 billion unprecedented investment is a testament that these companies believe that Ascension is the best location to operate a profitable, successful business” stated Mike Eades, Ascension Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) President & CEO.

In addition to successful industrial projects, Malco Theaters, Inc. constructed a $5 million family entertainment complex that includes the first new bowling center built in Louisiana in 20 years in the City of Gonzales.  Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. is constructing an $8 million, 50,000 square foot expansion in Gonzales that will add 6-8 new retail tenants.