Bossier City is on its way to seeing a digital media center develop at the national Cyber Research Park.
But before the $26 million facility becomes a reality, the city must first match 25 percent of a $500,000 state contribution. The city council will consider using $166,667 in riverboat gaming money to match state funds for the Center of Creative Digital Media during its regular Tuesday council meeting.
The center, to be on the upper right side of the park’s 64-acre initial phase, would house companies such as those in the interactive software design and film industries, as well as education programs. It would additionally provide space for digital media training.
Earlier this year, Bossier City was awarded the state funds to design the building. The city requested an additional $1 million in state funding this month for engineering. The project’s estimated total cost to the city is $5 million, special projects coordinator Pam Glorioso said.
Bossier City would be reimbursed for its expenses through the sale of bonds to construct the 80,000-square-foot building. The amount of bonds needed for construction has yet to be determined, Cyber Innovation Center Vice President G.B. Cazes said.
The CIC, the nonprofit corporation overseeing the research park, is working to secure potential tenants. Leases would be used to determine the amount of bond money that could be obtained, Cazes said. And once the building is complete, income from those leases would pay down bond debt.
Details about the potential economic impact of the center were unavailable. But Glorioso said the center would provide space for small companies enticed to do post-production film work in Louisiana through the state’s digital media tax credit. The 25 percent tax credit extends to qualified interactive software productions in not only film, but also health care and engineering industries.
The center also would work with education programs at area colleges to help connect students to industry training and jobs, Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker said.
The concept of a digital media center first surfaced in 2009 and was initially associated with a Southern American museum planned near the Louisiana Boardwalk. Because of a lack of communication with museum developers, the city asked the state to divert the funds to this new project.
Although some project details are still being ironed out, city officials say the center will be a big plus for the community.