The New York state Department of Taxation and Finance will be moving a call-handling center with about 500 employees to ViaPort Rotterdam, the former Rotterdam Square mall.
The state's decision to lease a former anchor store at the West Campbell Road mall comes as owners who bought what was a declining mall in 2015 work to revitalize it with a destination-attraction aquarium and other amenities. Now, they will have brought in hundreds of new people to work there.
Approximately 500 employees will be permanently relocating to the new office space in late summer, as the department consolidates its Albany phone contact centers in one location. "The transition to a new, larger work space will allow us to improve the efficiency of our contact center by having all staff in the same location," said state Department of Taxation and Finance spokesman James Gazzale.
The tax department staff also serves as an initial point of public phone contact for a dozen other state agencies.
The jobs are currently at locations within the state office campus in Albany. The tax department contact center also handles some of the calls for the departments of State, Financial Services, State Liquor Authority, Homeland Security, Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, Consumer Protection, Office of General Services, Office of Information Technology Services, directory assistance, Empire State Development, Motor Vehicles and E-Licensing.
The new workers will be moving into the space formerly occupied by a Macy's department store that was one of Rotterdam mall's anchor tenants. Macy's closed in spring 2015. ViaPort then bought the 120,000-square-foot space, which had been owned separately from the rest of the mall, in March 2016.
Viaport Rotterdam spokesman Alan Fanitzi said he wasn't able to confirm or deny that the state would be leasing the space, though state officials confirmed it. Bringing hundreds of employees into the mall would provide a major boost for the food court, restaurants and other businesses in the mall, which opened in 1988.
The ViaPort Aquarium opened in November, the most recent part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the mall, which has lost several tenants, including an anchor Sears store. Via USA bought the mall in May 2015 has brought in new options, including a large video arcade and bar area called Via Entertainment.
The aquarium has proven successful, the mall spokesman said. Fanitzi said 50,000 people have gone through the aquarium since it opened in November, and annual pass sales are also doing well.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, firstname.lastname@example.org or @gazettesteve on Twitter.