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Comcast receives state aid for Dauphin County facility

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Comcast received a funding offer from the state Department of Community and Economic Development to locate its new customer service center in Susquehanna Township, agency spokesman Steven Kratz said this afternoon.

That offer included a $750,000 Pennsylvania First grant, $191,250 in job training assistance and the opportunity to apply for up to $850,000 in job creation tax credits, Kratz said.

"The funding offer is contingent upon Comcast creating at least 425 new jobs (over three years) and investing $10 million," Kratz said.

Terms of its lease deal with Union Deposit Corp. were not disclosed. The Dauphin County facility will serve a 14-state area, according to Comcast.

This will be Comcast's sixth customer service center in the commonwealth. It has two in the Pittsburgh area and one each in the Philadelphia, Lebanon and York markets.

Jim Samaha, senior vice president of Comcast's Keystone Region, said the company hopes to open the new center around July.

Initial report

Comcast Cable today announced plans to hire 425 people for a new call center in Susquehanna Township.

The company, which will have more than 12,000 employees in Pennsylvania with the addition, will locate the call center at 2801 Valley Road, according to a news release.

Comcast said it will begin recruiting immediately for the facility.

Employees at the new center will provide support for all Comcast residential products and services, handling calls from across the Northeast Division, which serves almost eight million customers in 14 northeastern states from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Comcast said it will continue to operate five existing call centers in Pennsylvania. Comcast also has facilities in Lebanon and York counties.

Comcast spokesman Bob Grove said the company expects to open the Susquehanna Township facility sometime this summer.

When it opens, Comcast intends to have 200 of the 425 positions filled, he said. All of the remaining positions will be filled by the end of the year.

"This is the location that's right for us," he said. "It's in a central location with a strong and talented local workforce."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has offices at the Valley Road site, which is owned by Lower Paxton Township-based Union Deposit Corp. Comcast will lease 110,000 square feet of the 270,000 square feet available at the facility.

"We do have the ability to expand," Grove said.

"It's good for the market as a whole," said Robin Zellers, COO of Wormleysburg-based NAI CIR, the firm representing Union Deposit Corp. on the Comcast deal. "From a pure real estate perspective, what it does is show strong activity in the marketplace. It's a good sign for our industry."

Discussions about the property began in the fall, he said.

"It was a very productive process," Zellers said.

"It certainly validates the area," said Susan Mahoney Hatfield, president of Union Deposit Corp. "We've been getting more interest in customer service centers."

The local real estate market, in general, has been picking up, she said.

"We were so pleased that our building was uniquely positioned to provide the amenities, footprint and location that Comcast required to build a new state-of-the-art customer support center," Hatfield said.

Designed by world-renowned sculptural architect Louis Kahn in the 1960s, the Valley Road facility was built as an Olivetti typewriter factory.

It was converted to an office building in the late 1990s. Previous tenants include Tyco and EarthLink.

"It's a validation of the many attributes of Louis Kahn's building, but more importantly the area and the talent that lives and works here," Hatfield said, citing the widely spaced columns that create an open floor for a customer service center.

Comcast said it will begin advertising and posting new positions next week. Those interested in employment opportunities with Comcast can learn more at upcoming area career fairs and are encouraged to review job profiles and opportunities at www.comcast-jobs.com, where they can also apply for positions.

Location of new call center


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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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