Vantage expands and downtown Monroe grows - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Vantage expands and downtown Monroe grows

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Downtown Monroe is attracting a lot of businesses who are looking to expand. Vantage Health Plan has a deal in place to buy the historic State Office Building in Monroe for almost one million dollars.

Larry Bratton's job is to attract businesses to downtown Monroe. He says government leaders have helped him out by passing Bill 216 that allows for vantage health to expand their company by purchasing the historic state office building. The bill is on Governor Jindal's desk and everyone is certain that he will sign it.

"All the things Governor Jindal has done to enhance job growth up in North Louisiana, that this just has to be another perfect fit," said Larry Bratton.

"We don't anticipate that there will be any more road bumps to get the bill signed and done," said Michael Echols.

The state office building has six floors, lots of offices, and even more problems that Vantage Health says it will cost a lot of money to fix; but they want to do it to keep downtown thriving.

"The cost of repairs will be somewhere in between five and seven million dollars. Of course it is a historic building and we are going to do the things that we can to preserve the historic nature of the building," said Echols.

"In addition to fixing up the state office building, Vantage Health is also going to help the economy by adding more than 200 jobs.

"What better fit could we ask for in this particular region and for downtown to see an expansion in the healthcare industry by what Vantage is going to be doing," said Bratton.

Larry hopes other companies will follow Vantage's example and help make downtown the heart of the city for years to come.

"We've got great things going on with the river market. We've got great things going on with the restaurant growth. We've got some new developers who have bought some of the properties in downtown and they are starting to really turn things around," said Bratton.

Michael Echols says the agreement that Vantage Health made with Louisiana Economic Development is to hire the 200 employees within the next five years.

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