December 06, 2017
Click here to read the news story featured in The Advocate
Taylor Porter Partner Jim Ellis, who serves as the Baton Rouge Area Chamber Building Committee Chair, helped develop the plans for the new BRAC Headquarters, which recently broke ground at 564 Laurel Street, set to open for late summer 2018. The $3.5-million, 11,000-square foot expansion into the Center for Economic Development will feature large meeting rooms, high-tech presentation spaces, an open floor plan with collaborative work stations, as well as a new conference center able to host BRAC board and other large meetings and training sessions.
The additional space will make possible new partnerships with small business and entrepreneurial training programs, research resources for businesses and other nonprofits. A new courtyard on the 6th Street side of the building will also make the conference center accessible as an indoor-outdoor environment. The new building will allow the 30 full-time BRAC employees to again work under the same roof. The organization has been leasing additional space on Laurel Street for a number of years.
In an interview with The Advocate, Ellis said the new office is the final step in an evolution that began in 2005, when the group reorganized itself as a regional economic development organization.
WHLC Architecture designed the new space and Milton J. Womack is the contractor.
For the time being, BRAC has temporarily moved its offices into the 10th floor of the Chase South Tower, a floor below the temporary offices of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. LABI, the state’s leading business lobbying group, is set to permanently move into its new offices at 500 Main St. in late 2018/early 2019. Fundraising for the BRAC building is underway, with commitments to date nearing $1 million. BRAC is selling opportunities to name the building and parts of the property.
At Taylor Porter, Ellis has focused his more than 40 years of practice in utility, energy, pipeline legal issues, along with regulated industries, corporate, merger and acquisitions, transactional, contract, and commercial litigation matters. Ellis has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in Energy Law for the last 15 years.
Ellis is active in many civic and economic development organizations in the capital region. He was General Counsel for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (2005-2007) and served as Chairman of the Board of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber in 2008. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Building Committee Chairman. Ellis is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Baton Rouge Airport Commission and served as Chairman of the Board of the Airport Commission. In addition, he serves as President of the City Club of Baton Rouge, and on the Board of Directors for FuturePAC, the Manship Theatre, Cerebral Palsy Foundation, McMains Children’s Developmental Center, ReStore of Baton Rouge, and Evergreen Life Services.