The ‘groundbreaking’ of the new NW Louisiana State Office building.

Sometimes it takes a pile of well-placed soil and some golden shovels to make a big thing truly official, and such was the case this past cold and blustery Monday, Oct. 30, at 500 Fannin Street.

Everyone gathered for the official start.

Dozens of people, elected officials and supporters, braved the cold and damp to talk a little about what it took to get to this place, the years of work and advocating, of walking away and coming back.

Governor John Bel Edwards

It has been a long path and a difficult one, proof that nothing important is easy. Changes are already happening. Deconstruction of the old Joe D. Waggonner Federal Building is underway. The adjacent parking garage is gone, the ground floor of the office building is open. Within months, all that will remain will be a steel skeleton and some concrete.

The official groundbreaking of the new state office building.

Our profound thanks to those whose never-say-die attitude kept the project alive. Rep. Cedric Glover, who believed from the beginning that this location was the best of all choices and was willing to make that argument over and over, State Senator Robert Mills, who came quickly to that conclusion and was a strong, positive voice advocating to the Governor’s Office and others, and to other lawmakers who supported them both initially and came aboard later.

We appreciate the efforts of the Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC), who wrote emails and made calls, who funded engineering studies and worked in a variety of ways to make this happen, to the State of Louisiana’s Building and Facilities Division who understood the money that would be saved in using an existing building, to Realtor Beth King who may win the award for working most years to transfer a property, to City of Shreveport administration and to others who deserve thanks.

We are thrilled to finally be able to say that- yes- it is happening. Hooray to all.

For the timeline of work, read on below…

Work is underway at 500 Fannin St.

Work is already underway at 500 Fannin Street. Crews have already demolished the parking garage and cleared the site.

The former parking garage has been cleared.

Work is also underway on the main building. In the next few months, it will look very different than it does today.

Here is the current timeline from the Louisiana State Office of Facilities and Maintenance.

Phase I Demolition includes:
1. The asbestos abatement of all asbestos containing materials on site.
2. Complete exterior and interior demolition of the main building. The only items that will remain will be the floor slabs and the steel structure.
3. Demolition of the existing parking garage.
Gill Industries in Shreveport will oversee Phase 1 and will be using Lloyd Nabors Demolition for the major demolition.
This portion of the project is scheduled to take 300 days, with estimated completion July 14, 2024.

The Former Joe D. Waggonner Federal Building.

Phase II Renovation includes:
1. Construction of the new parking garage.
2. Construction of the new office building.
3. Furnishing the office building.

Building designs will be submitted to the state on Sept. 30, 2023 for review, a construction manager will be brought in during October and construction documents will be ready on or around May 2024. Once those construction documents are complete, the state can begin going on for bids.

The goal is to have the building completed and the 350+ state employees in it by late 2025/2026.

See the post below for additional details and architectural drawings of what the finished complex could look like.

Post from July 13, 2023

Things are happening in Baton Rouge on the new State Building in downtown Shreveport. Bids for the Phase I Demolition and Abatement project were opened earlier this week.  Billy Wilson, the Assistant Director of Facility Planning and Control for the state, tells us only two bids were received. He says the apparent low bid was from Gill Industries, a General Contractor with offices in Belle Chasse and an address at 1325 Fullerton Street in Shreveport, and Hand Construction, a Shreveport-based GC . Wilson says if Gill’s bid is approved/accepted, they will be awarded the project.

This will be one of many Requests for Bids that will go out on the $70+M project.

Shreveport’s Newman Marchive Inc. is overseeing the plan for building demolition and asbestos abatement. Their work will also involve removing the exterior ‘skin’ of the building and all interior components including concrete, piping and mechanical systems. Once work begins at the site, they expect it to take 200-300 days to complete.

Meeting with state officials sharing information about the building process.

We are told to expect demolition to begin on the parking garage section of the building first; once all is completed architect Mike Newman says the state will have an ’empty shell and dirt’ to begin their next phase of work.

The former federal building as it currently looks.


What the building will look like at the conclusion of the Newman/Marchive work.

Drawings from architects and designers at Coe/Arquitectonica are due by Christmas 2023. Once those documents are complete, the state will begin soliciting bids on construction with a goal of employees being in the ‘new’ building in 2025.

An architectural rendering of the new state building.

Architect Christopher Coe told participants in an early 2023 meeting that he is excited about the opportunity to play a role in the re-imagining of the former federal building into something beautiful and useful. He believes that ‘each building makes a city’ and that a dense urban environment is a catalyst for a downtown.

The reuse of portions of the former building add up to significant savings, Coe emphasized, noting that concrete and steel are the biggest and most expensive projects used.  “Adaptive reuse allows us to use what’s already there” creating lower costs and sustainability.

A view of the current building and parking garage.

Coe also explained the decisions made on some of the proposed design features. The ‘louvers’ on the building act like old-timey awnings, keeping heat at bay. But the design of the louvers also ‘bounce’ light deeper into the floors, creating abundant natural light to almost the center of the building. The plantings and other elements add to urban cooling.

A big change that Coe has created is re-orienting the entrance of the building onto the beautiful, tree-lined Marshall Street, across from the state-owned Second Circuit Court of Appeals building and the historic Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Though Coe’s current drawing may not be the exact final design look, many of the features for urban cooling, natural light, and sustainability will remain.

Architectural rendering of the new state office building with entrance oriented to Marshall Street instead of McNeil.

Office of Facilities Maintenance and Control’ Billy Wilson says at least 350 employees will be moving into the building, and more could be added. The state is engaged in the laborious process of interviewing each office and division to determine their space, technical and storage needs.

Percent for Art process laid out.

Good news for artists and art lovers, too. According to Scott Finch, head of the Percent for Art office at the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Roughly $500,000 will be allocated for custom art in the building and on the grounds. That process will start a bit later in the construction schedule, so local artists should stay in the loop.

Many opportunities for jobs and bids will be made available to local construction professionals, designers, landscapers, and artists during the construction process and check back often for updates.


Article from Feb. 16, 2023

Proposed options are already being drawn up for the State of Louisiana’s ‘new’ State Office Building at 500 Fannin Street. While conceptual only, the drawings show just how different a newly-conceived structure will be from the old Joe D. Waggonner Federal Building.

The look of the original Joe D. Waggonner Building.

A press release from the Louisiana Legislature says the Office Facility Corporation voted unanimously to strip the existing structure at 500 Fannin Street “to the bones” and build what essentially will be a new building and a new adjacent parking garage. Because the original structure will be reused, the price will be roughly $70m instead of a new build price of closer to $140m.

According to Mark Moses, director of the state Office of Facility Planning and Control, the state will begin construction in early spring 2024. The state will use existing funds to start the project rather than sell bonds.

An architectural rendering of what the building ‘could’ look like. No matter the final design, expect lots of natural light.

The architectural rendering from another angle, also showing the adjacent parking garage.

The wide view rendering, looking toward the north and SWEPCO’s Arsenal Hill plant.

Remember that all of these renderings are just options for the finished look and that no final decision has been made. One thing is certain, though. The State of Louisiana intends to create an energy-efficient, state-of-the-art building that is filled with both the latest technology and natural light.

State Representative Cedric Glover, who fiercely advocated for the re-purposing of the Joe D. Waggonner building into the state office building, says he will be hosting town hall meetings to “provide additional information and receive feedback from those interested.” We will work with Rep. Glover to host at least one of those meetings downtown.

“The adaptive repurposing of the former downtown federal building is a win for our region at so many levels,” Glover said. “The structure has been empty for eight more years than it was occupied, with no visible or viable prospects on the horizon to return it to commerce.”


Article from Sept, 2022

The document tells the tale; 500 Fannin Street is now owned by the State of Louisiana. The $1.75m official purchase is another step in the transition of the long unloved former Joe D. Waggonner federal building to a new, state-of-the-art office building. The building will be taken down to the steel structure, and a new building, filled with light and technology, will be created in its place.


See the news report on KTBS-TV

The building, owned by Louisiana Christian University in central Louisiana, was once slated to become a law school. Those plans never fully materialized and the building sat vacant for 28 years.

Read the Story on the history of this deal & the letting of the interior demolition contract.

500 Fannin Street

Over the 28 years of vacancy, the building became blighted, an entire unattractive block with seemingly few options. What the building does have though, is good bones, good concrete and lots of space. Space for employees, for state visitors and for a new parking garage.

Read about the local Design Team chosen for the project.

The Design Team has already been chosen and will be looking at the myriad of options for the space. Now that the sale has been completed, efforts can engage in earnest. The state of Louisiana’s estimate is that the new Downtown Shreveport State Office Facility will take three years to complete.