ROTTERDAM -- Charter Communications wants to establish a major national call center at its regional headquarters building on Highbridge Road, bringing an additional 200 jobs to the facility.
Plans scheduled to come before the Rotterdam Planning Commission Tuesday night for initial site plan review call for interior renovations to the two-story, 80,000-square-foot building, greatly expanding an existing call center and using it to serve customers of Spectrum Mobile personal communications systems.
"This expansion will enable us to continue growing and providing exceptional service to Spectrum Mobile customers, while also offering the community with more career opportunities with competitive pay, outstanding benefits and growth potential," said Charter Communications spokesman Andrew Russell.
Charter is the parent company of Spectrum, the major cable television and telecommunications provider. Charter or predecessor company Time Warner Cable have owned the large building at 1021 Highbridge Road since 2012. Time Warner leased the building from a commercial landlord for a decade prior to that.
"It's going to be great for the town for a lot of different reasons, mostly for people who are looking for work, since there will be a lot of entry-level jobs," said Town Supervisor Steven A. Tommasone. "They're launching something that is really exciting, because it's one of only two call centers in the country."
Charter's other major call center is in the Kansas City, Missouri, area.
"We're very fortunate that they are staying here, that they have the building and probably the technology they need there," Tommasone said.
In addition to 200 new jobs at the call center, jobs at that location include include Spectrum Mobile customer support reps, leadership positions, and positions in training and human resources, the company said, bringing call center payroll to about 450.
The company's field operations headquarters for the Albany region is also located in the building. The application says as many as 660 people may work in the building, though there will be no more than 520 in the building at any given time.
An existing customer service station at the location will be moved elsewhere to make room for the call center expansion. The center will operate from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, according to information provided to the town.
Tommasone said the changes should reduce the facility's traffic impacts, since there will no longer be the in-and-out of customers dropping off equipment at the service center -- and the longer hours mean the traffic from shift workers will also be more spread out.
"Overall, I think it's a real positive for the town, and in also limiting the amount of traffic," Tommasone said.
Consulting engineers working for Charter said no additional road, water or service system improvements will be needed on the site to accommodate the additional workers, though there will be some additional parking created.
Assuming it gets all needed approvals, Charter wants to start work this summer and open the new call center next spring.
Hiring has already started, and will continue while the building is renovated, the company said. Spectrum said it offers paid comprehensive training, generous medical benefits, 401(K) retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, free/discounted Spectrum services and competitive wages starting at $15/hour.
Nationwide, Charter reports having about 28 million customers in 41 states, and 98,000 employees. It is New York state's largest internet service provider.