Silicon Valley firm signs deal for Lafayette’s permanent residency; Here’s where they’ll land | Business

SchoolMint will establish its permanent home in Lafayette in a warehouse just north of downtown.

The educational company announced the move to a former warehouse at 319 N. Monroe St. and will lease the property from the Lafayette Public Financing Authority, CEO Bryan MacDonald said.

It had been housed in temporary accommodation since its move from Silicon Valley to Lafayette was announced nearly two years ago. Employees recently moved into the first floor of the Lemoine building, 214 Jefferson St.

Work has already started on the site and LPTFA will be soliciting proposals for the interior construction. SchoolMint could move into the building by the end of the year.

“We were very attached to the historic downtown and were looking for the right location to become a national showcase for our business,” MacDonald said. “We visited many places, but were particularly impressed with the area that LPTFA has transformed into a technology, arts and media campus. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to occupy this historic location and transform it into a world-class technology facility with the support and commitment of LPTFA.

The move came after the Lafayette City Council approved a resolution supporting the measure. Because LPTFA is a public entity and the project is funded, it must get approval from the state bond commission, executive director Kevin Blanchard said.

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The 13,000 square foot cinder block building was first constructed in the 1950s by longtime Lafayette entrepreneur Horace Rickey Sr., a lifelong commercial entrepreneur.

The LPTFA will use historic tax credits to help with construction and will retain the building’s original character, including two large ceiling cranes that will remain intact as well as the 30-foot high ceilings and large open spaces, a said Blanchard. A mezzanine will be converted into a lounge for employees.

The organization has supported the city of Lafayette through finance-related programs and community involvement efforts in the area just north of downtown. He led efforts to install a sewer lift station downtown to manage residential growth and began construction on a second multi-family development later this month that will include 70 units.

“The trust has made tremendous progress over the years and its investments are paying dividends for the city, downtown and the LaPlace neighborhood,” Blanchard said. “We couldn’t be more grateful that SchoolMint shares our vision for this area and is excited to invest in the downtown and neighborhood. I’m excited because years and years ago there were a lot of vacant buildings here. I think the organization put up a flag years ago and said, ‘We’re going to invest here.'”

The architecture firm Lafayette ACSW will support the project. ACSW has designed a number of award-winning facilities locally, including the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Moore Park at ML “Tigue” Moore Field and Southside High School.

“Bringing a nationally recognized technology company like SchoolMint to Lafayette furthers the Silicon Bayou initiative and the emergence of Lafayette as a technology hub,” said Ryan Pecot, commercial real estate agent at Stirling Properties. “I was happy to connect LPTFA, ACSW and SchoolMint on this project. It will continue the transformation of this part of downtown Lafayette.”

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