A company that plans to bring a call center and more than 300 jobs to Atlantic City this fall was approved to receive nearly $33 million in tax credits from the state, a spokesperson from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority said.
The company, Atlantic City Contact Center LLC, plans to hire 332 new full-time employees to staff a 200-seat space at the Claridge Hotel, according to a project summary presented Thursday during the EDA’s board meeting. The median wage of the jobs is $27,040, the summary said.
The new employees would staff the location 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the summary said. The company would lease 7,859 square feet of office space, the summary said.
“It would be a good thing for the people of Atlantic City and the job market, especially since they are closing up four casinos — the unemployment rate here is twice the state average,” said Michael Johnson, 72, the Atlantic City NAACP’s economic development chairman.
“If it’s one thing we need here, it’s jobs, jobs and more jobs,” Johnson said. “It’s a good thing, and I would hope, since they are placing it in Atlantic City, they would try to take care of city residents first.”
Mayor Don Guardian met Warren H. Golden, CEO of Atlantic City Contact Center, in the past and connected him with the city’s Employment and Jobs Training Program to encourage local hiring, said Chris Filiciello, chief of staff to the mayor.
Golden said the company plans to lease two floors in the Claridge. One floor is expected to be open by mid-September. The second would open in mid-November.
The company will provide a wide variety of call center services, including customer service, retail, technical support, product ordering and order follow up, he said.
“Pretty much for any company that needs those services,” Golden said.
The company would receive $3.27 million per year in tax credits over a 10-year period through the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program. The program is available to businesses creating or retaining jobs in the state and making a qualified capital investment at a qualified facility in a qualified incentive area, the summary said.
Tax credits are only certified for use annually and proportionally based on actual job performance during that year. An applicant is subject to forfeiture and recapture in the event of default, the summary said.
But Jon Whiten, deputy director of New Jersey Policy Perspective, described the deal as risky for the state.
If the business stays in New Jersey for 30 years, the state estimated, it would mean a $36 million benefit for New Jersey — or, a net benefit to the state of about $3.2 million, after accounting for the nearly $33 million in tax credits.
But after 15 years, the company can leave the state, Whiten said — so the state may never see that net benefit.
Atlantic City Contact Center LLC, was founded this year for the sole purpose of this venture, the summary said. The company is a subsidiary of Hollygold Associates Inc., which operates multiple contact centers in the Philippines and on the West Coast of the United States through other subsidiaries, the summary said.
Golden said the company will be an affiliate of Netcast BPO, the subsidiary that performs the call center services out of the Philippines.
The company had submitted an economic analysis to the EDA detailing the cost difference between locating the project in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, Nevada, the summary said. The analysis showed Atlantic City to be the more expensive option, and management of the company indicated that the grant of tax credits was a significant factor in its location decision.
Now that it has been awarded the tax credits, Golden said, the company will move to Atlantic City.
“We decided on Atlantic City,” Golden said. “That’s where we wanted to be, and the award made it possible.”
Staff writers John V. Santore and Tyler Tynes contributed to this report.
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