by Max Brantley
The long-vacant Little Rock library building at Seventh and Louisiana has been sold and will be renovated for business use. Details are to be announced at a news conference at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday featuring Hugh McDonald, CEO of Entergy Arkansas, various economic development officials and an official of SAIC. The announcement says this will bring "significant" capital investment and jobs downtown. (We understand some condos are available within walking distance.)
SAIC is Science Applications International Corp. According to the company's website:
SAIC is a leading provider of scientific, engineering, systems integration and technical services and solutions to all branches of the U.S. military, agencies of the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. government civil agencies, as well as to customers in selected commercial markets. With more than 43,000 employees in over 150 cities worldwide, SAIC engineers and scientists solve complex technical challenges requiring innovative solutions for customers’ mission-critical functions.
SAIC already does information technology work for Entergy. A bet about tomorrow's announcement might be that the work is expanding as well as finding a home near Entergy Arkansas's HQ. Good news all around if a bunch of high-tech jobs are heading downtown. The building had been prepped several years ago for new occupancy by a high-tech company, but that deal fell through. It was vacated about 10 years ago when Central Arkansas Library Systems moved to its new building in the River Market neighborhood.
UPDATE: A tipster claims Entergy will be moving a data center that once had been in Gretna, La., to get it well out of the way of future hurricanes.