News Column

Sykes Enterprises to Bring 350-plus Jobs to Eugene

March 7, 2013

Sherri Buri McDonald

Sykes Enterprises, a large call center operation, has leased the space formerly occupied by Enterprise Rent-a-Car in downtown Eugene.

The call center will lease 44,000 square feet at 175 W. Broadway and employ 350 to 400 people, said Tim Campbell of Campbell Commercial Real Estate, the broker representing the property.

"They're trying to be in as soon as possible -- by April," he said.

Sykes, which has its headquarters in Tampa, Fla., is a third-party call center, handling customer contact for clients around the world, including firms in the communications, financial services, health care, technology, transportation and leisure industries, according to the company's website. It employs more than 41,000 people in 23 countries.

"It's fantastic timing of entering downtown," Campbell said. "With Lane Community College opening up (nearby), there's job applicants that will walk by their door daily. We told them 3,000 students a day are going to be going into that building, and they were really excited to hear that."

Sykes, which has call centers throughout the United States and the world, was attracted to the space downtown because "it was a plug-and-play ready call center," Campbell said.

"They ended up buying equipment and cubes from Enter­prise, and they can just walk right in and go if they want to," he said.

"They're going to do some upgrades to their liking, but Enterprise left everything in really good shape, so they don't have to do much," Campbell said.

Sykes signed a five-year lease with an option to renew, he said, "They'll be here for a while."

The building is owned by local businessmen Tom Connor and Don Wooley.

"Our marketing efforts were anything from breaking those floors up to retail, because of the LCC component, to advertising nationally about a plug-and-play call center," Campbell said. "That's when we had interest from two to three call centers."

Dave Hauser, president of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, said Sykes' decision to locate in downtown Eugene "is really good news. Good news for the regional economy as the project brings much needed job opportunities. And good news for downtown as those jobs will contribute to the growing vibrancy of our core."

Hauser said he doesn't know how many of the jobs will be filled locally but, based on his experience with other call centers that have located here, the availability of a qualified local work force "was central to their decision-making process. They want to make sure they can continually access a well-prepared work force."

Enterprise closed its downtown call center in October, shifting its employees to a work-from-home arrangement. It opened the center in early 2008; the lease was due to expire this spring.

In 2011, 250 employees worked at the Enterprise center and 100 employees worked from their homes. By late 2012, the company had 235 home agents in Oregon. Enterprise did not give a breakdown of how many of those agents are in Lane County.

Register-Guard Business Editor Ilene Aleshire contributed to this report.

Source: (c)2013 The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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