The Advocate

Conn’s Home Plus plans to build a new $5.7 million new distribution center in Port Allen which company officials say will create 70 new jobs.

The jobs will have an average salary of more than $41,300 annually, plus benefits, according to Louisiana Economic Development. LED said the center also will create nearly 60 new indirect jobs.

Conn’s, based in The Woodlands, Texas, is expanding its South Louisiana operations.

In February, the appliance, electronics and furniture retailer opened a second Baton Rouge store in the former Toys R Us/Babies R Us store at 10780 N. Mall Drive in the Siegen Lane Marketplace. That same month, it opened a Harvey store in the Manhattan Crossing shopping center.

Conn’s plans to open stores in Slidell and Metairie in the summer. The chain has eight stores in Louisiana and nearly 130 locations nationwide.

Conn’s is going into a 34 acre site on Commercial Drive, between the Port Allen and Lobell exits along Interstate 10 west. The company will start work on the 250,000 square foot distribution center in June. The center is set to open in about a year.

CAP Industrial Park I LLC, represented by Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate, is the development company that will build the distribution center and lease it to Conn’s. Along with Conn’s investment, the developer will be making an investment of $17 million investment.

Hank Saurage of Saurage Rotenberg said the site is west of the Graham Packaging Company facility. He’s looking for tenants to take up a second distribution building, which will be 270,000 square feet.

Conn’s began talking to LED and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber in October about the distribution center. The state offered Conn’s an incentive program that included a $250,000 performance based grant to offset building costs. The company is also expected to use tax incentives from the state’s Quality Jobs Program.