The resurgence that La Porte has seen in their downtown area has spurred companies to get involved and seek out available property in which to expand their operations. One such company is RQAW Consulting Engineers and Architects who is beginning the work of renovating their future branch at 724 Lincolnway in La Porte.
Bert Cook, Executive Director of the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation, worked to help bring RQAW Consulting Engineers and Architects to the city.
“They approached our Urban Enterprise Association (UEA) around six to eight months ago and they let us know that they were interested in opening up a branch here,” Cook said. “They were very interested in the resurgence that we’re having downtown and wanted to be a part of that.”
“The location is at the corner of Lincolnway and Michigan Avenue which is really in the center, and at the heart of, our downtown,” said Cook. “The company agreed to put a real significant amount of money in this renovation. Their going to do a complete new facade on the exterior of the building and they’ll be fixing some logistical issues so it will be more easily accessible by the public.”
The project is set to add tremendous value to the La Porte downtown area which is already on the upswing both in terms of economic development and quality of life.
“RQAW is creating 12 new jobs,” Cook said. “They’ll be employing 12 engineers here in the city which we’re absolutely thrilled about. These are, obviously, high paying jobs and they’re currently hiring for those positions. If anyone is interested they can visit their website to find out about those positions.”
The deal was helped in part by a grant from the UEA. The current two story building will be purchased by RQAW, who will then occupy the entire second floor. As part of the agreement, RQAW will be doing an entire renovation of the location and keeping the two current tenants, Magic Sports and Tacos My Fren, in place.
“It was a nice collaboration and the fact that we were able to have funds available to do this kind of things is great,” said Mike Riehle, President of the La Porte Urban Enterprise Association. “This is almost an ideal situation of how the Enterprise can use grant money from some of the funds that we get through incentives for capital improvements, and those types of things, to put back into a company that is actually the type of company we want to see moving to La Porte with high-paying, professional tech jobs.”
“Those are the types of jobs that can attract young college graduates and bring them back to this community, which I think is a key aspect of this,” Riehle added. “Negotiations went well, RQAW has been wonderful to work with and they were on board with the whole project so hat’s off to them. I think it was a win-win for everybody.”
Troy Woodruff, Principal with RQAW, spoke about expanding their operations into downtown La Porte in saying, “There are a couple of different reasons and one of which is the proximity. We like the central location to a couple of areas that we wanted to target. The second is the La Porte District for INDOT is there in that community so we wanted to be close by.”
“Another reason was really the reception we received from Mayor Milo as well as Bert (Cook) and his team,” Woodruff added. “They genuinely wanted us to be, invest there and bring these engineering and architectural jobs to La Porte. It was really a combination of all of those things that just came together to make it a good fit for us.”
In speaking about renovating and moving into the building at 724 Lincolnway in La Porte, Woodruff said, ”We were just attracted to that location. It’s right in the heart of the community and it’s right across from courthouse and the Mayor’s office. We like the building and it had some good character to it.”
Work began last week and RQAW is looking to be finished with construction, moved in and operating by May 2017.
To find out more about RQAW and any available positions, visit: http://www.rqaw.com/
La Porte, IN 46350
Visit Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation Partner Profile