West Baton Rouge placed first in “most investment received” in a study by financial technology company SmartAsset. WBR has the highest Incoming Investment Index in the state, a number based on business growth, GDP, new building permits, and federal funding.
The town of Addis, in particular, has seen a leap in population and business growth in recent years. From 2000-2010 the population of Addis more than doubled.
Commercial investments, a good economy, stock market rise and how well the parish did around the time of the 2016 floods compared to surrounding areas have significantly attributed to the business growth, Director of Public Works Kevin Durbin said.
Since 2017, the parish has grown to include two RV parks, a campground, Sugar Mill Apartments, Brusly Plaza II, and Gourrier Construction among other developments. And more businesses are looking to settle on this side of the Mississippi.
The upcoming Walk-Ons, the first on the West Side is set to open around November. The sports restaurant will hire more than 200 staff members and reap $5 million in annual revenue, a nice boost sales taxes, Brusly Mayor Scot Rhodes said.
“Ever since Walk-Ons announced [they’re] coming, I think more businesses saw that and followed,” Addis Mayor David Toups said.
Leaders hope to see the construction of new restaurants to serve the people of the area. Mayor Toups would particularly like to see a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers on the West Side. The fried chicken finger meal is one so popularly sought-out that locals drive across the bridge to the LSU campus for it alone, Toups said.
“Anything that can help us where we don’t have to cross the bridge,” Toups said of the notorious congestion. Such traffic can be avoided if new businesses encourage people to stay on the West Side.
The fact that WBR has the most investments received has “everything to do with the growth,” Toups said about plans of housing and retail.
As businesses catch up to the population growth, the School Board is also trying to get ahead of the game with renovations to every school, and two new multimillion-dollar campuses. While WBR Schools is already acting on a game plan, growth may have to slow down before there is a definite answer on what new businesses have their eyes on the West Side.
“Sooner or later the housing will slow down and we will have a blueprint of different businesses,” Toups said.