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UPDATE: Lowe's to invest $20.5M in customer-service center

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Home-improvement retail giant Lowe’s has a big project of its own planned for the northwest side, intending to invest a total of $20.5 million to purchase, renovate and equip an office building for a massive customer service center.

North Carolina-based Lowe’s said Tuesday morning that it expected to hire as many as 1,000 workers for the center by 2016. The announcement at Intech Park with city and state officials confirmed a report from IBJ on Monday.

The 140,000-square-foot office building at 6620 Network Way will support Internet sales, delivery services and repair services for Lowe’s customers across the nation, the firm said. Lowe’s expects to begin hiring immediately for the center, set to begin operations in early 2015.

“Indianapolis adds a strategic Midwest location to our [existing] network of customer support centers located in North Carolina and New Mexico,” said Don Easterling, Lowe’s vice president of contact centers. “We appreciate the support of both state and local officials that helped make this a win-win project.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Lowe’s up to $5.5 million in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s job-creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning they cannot be claimed until the firm hires workers.

The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC.

Located in the southwest quadrant of West 71st Street and Interstate 465, the office building housed Eli Lilly and Co.’s information technology department from 2003 to 2013.

The building's Atlanta-based owner, Wells Management Co., sold it to a joint venture between Encore Office LLC of Dallas and Middleton Partners LLC of Northbrook, Ill., in a deal announced Feb. 27.

A source familiar with the current deal told IBJ on Monday that Lowe’s purchased the building and three adjacent acres of land for $9 million. The land was required to expand parking for the facility, the source said.

Information released by Lowe’s and IEDC did not specify the average salary for workers at the center. Wages will average between $10 and $14 per hour, The Associated Press reported.

The deal exemplifies the continued improvement of the Indianapolis suburban office market, said John Robinson, managing director of the real estate firm JLL in Indianapolis, who was not involved in the Lowe's deal.

"This takes what was one of the few remaining large vacant spaces in the entire office market,” he said.

Lowe's will begin hiring for the new jobs immediately, and most of the people it hires will be from Indianapolis, Easterling said. Lowe's already employs nearly 7,900 people at 44 Indiana stores. Founded in 1946, the firm has 1,830 home improvement and hardware stores and 260,000 employees. In its 2013 fiscal year, it recorded sales of $53.4 billion.
 

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  • Basic Economis is Elusive
    Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.
  • Why are more incentives needed?
    From the story: "The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC." Why would the City need to consider additional tax incentives when Lowe's has already bought the land and reached an agreement with IEDC to bring the jobs? What that tells me is that the City has already pledged the incentives, unofficially, and they just haven't had time to push it through the MDC yet. Either way, subsidizing $10/hour jobs is going to do nothing toward furthering the Mayor's stated goal of attracting middle and upper-middle class residents to Marion County.
  • RE: Bob
    No one is complaining about these jobs coming to Indianapolis. We are complaining about the need to subsidize these low wage jobs. Why do you never hear a peep from republicans and tea partiers about this type of welfare? We should only be subsidizing high wage, high skilled jobs.
  • Moochers
    You naysayers are incredible. The article states the jobs will most likely pay between $10 and $14 hr. All you calling for a "living wage" obviously can't read.....but no you all are right, let's pass on 1000 jobs that pay a rate equal to or higher than the bozo in the White House called for. Let's just keep those 1000 people on unemployment or working for $7.25 at Walmart. Let's not even think about the positive impact of the jobs, earning a paycheck, feeling pride, the money spent at small businesses from those pay checks, the COIT money communities get from those jobs which pay for fire and police, the positive impact on office vacancy rates......no let's complain that a call center hiring 1000 people doesn't pay $20 an hour.....and liberals wonder why Detroit is in Bankruptcy with 15+ percent unemployed.
  • No Thanks
    No thank you...article didn't even state the average pay per hour. I wonder why? Usually all the ibj and inside indiana business articles announcing good jobs always state the average pay. Why did they leave it out this time?
  • English
    Will the speak and understand English? I stopped shopping at Lowes and using the call center because I had such a hard time with the accents and they did not under stand me either. Jobs are good in any form....
  • AGREE 100%
    Maybe it is time Indy passes an affordable minimum wage like Bloomington. There should be zero tax breaks for a company unless it pays a livable wage. A high turnover rate call center, let's have a big press conference and brag.
  • $
    Why are we giving out corporate welfare for low-wage call center jobs, where the employees then in turn have to get welfare themselves due to their low wages??
  • wages
    Lowes will pay $8.00 to $12.00 per hour and that is not a livable wage and this is good for WHO ????

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