CenturyLink ready to grow

Technology-driven company plans major expansion

By Greg Hilburn

Monroe News Star

July 10, 2012

CenturyLink, one of Louisiana's brightest beacons of commerce, is about to grow even bigger at the company's Monroe headquarters on U.S. 165 North.

The company announced Tuesday it will break ground on a 225,000-square-foot headquarters expansion in early 2013.

CenturyLink's building project was one of the commitments the company made last summer when it announced the company will create 800 local jobs by 2016.

The expansion is expected to include technology research facilities as well as additional office and meeting space.

"This expansion project will be a catalyst for advancing our strategic growth initiatives and will promote the research of new technologies," CenturyLink Chief Executive and President Glen Post said. "We are pleased to bring high-quality jobs to Monroe and believe our new facility will be a focal point for our technology-driven company, helping to inspire innovation, idea generation and problem solving that will benefit our customers and employees."

The state will contribute up to $14.9 million toward the expansion, or 50 percent of the total cost if the project is less than $29.8 million. CenturyLink spent $26 million during its last headquarters expansion, which was 200,000 square feet, completed in 2000.

"CenturyLink's headquarters is a great symbol of prosperity and progress in which our city and the entire state takes great pride," Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said.

The company's current headquarters is 365,000 square feet.

Annmarie Sartor, a CenturyLink spokesman, said it hasn't been determined where the expansion will be on the 77-acre headquarters campus, which includes a large pecan orchard on the northern portion.

CenturyLink, the largest company headquartered in Louisiana, currently employs 1,800 workers in Monroe, including about 1,000 at the existing headquarters.

As part of its incentive deal with the state, CenturyLink committed to keep its headquarters in Monroe through at least 2020.

"There's not a city in the country that wouldn't covet a Fortune 150 company," said Bob Eisenstadt, director of the University of Louisiana at Monroe's Center for Business and Economic Research.

"The construction will inject a tangible boost to region's economy, but the real impact comes from the 800 new permanent jobs. I've said it before, but it's a home run for our community."