Comcast Corp. confirmed Monday it is the mystery company that last month requested $1.4 million in state aid to expand its St. Paul facility to make room for 400 new customer service workers.
The Philadelphia-based cable company will staff up through next year at its regional office in downtown St. Paul. By the end of 2016, it will spend between $2 million and $3 million for Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. to build a 45,000-square-foot addition onto the facility at 10 River Park Plaza.
Expansion plans surfaced last month in documents filed with the St. Paul Port Authority that outlined the growth push but did not name the employer. Comcast needed the agency’s support to ask for a $1 million forgivable loan through the Minnesota Investment Fund plus $400,000 in job training grants.
The subsidy would support leasehold build-outs and outfit the new space, according to the filings. Upgrades at the St. Paul office will focus on customer service operations, and will add to on-site improvements made in recent years, the company said.
Over the past several months, Comcast was in expansion talks with several other U.S. cities. Company representatives declined to name the other contenders, but the Port Authority said last month the state funding would go a long way toward justifying larger operations in St. Paul.
“Comcast has a long history in St. Paul of employing Minnesotans and we already benefit and want to continue to benefit from the excellent workforce here,” said Caroline Aspenson, the company’s vice president of human resources.
Counting the new jobs, Comcast – in the Twin Cities for about a decade – will have more than 2,400 workers in the Twin Cities. New workers in St. Paul will advance the company’s goal of adding 5,500 customer service employees nationwide over the next three years, it said.
“Comcast’s decision to add 400 new jobs in St. Paul is tremendous news for Minnesota,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement. “I congratulate Comcast for its success, and thank the company for its continued commitment to Minnesota.”
The company recently added customer service workers in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Spokane, Washington; Tuscon, Arizona; Knoxville, Tennessee, and in Michigan, Aspenson said.
To secure the $1 million funding package, Comcast needs to create at least 250 Minnesota jobs within two years that pay $13 per hour or more, according to documents. Otherwise, it will have to repay its $1 million forgivable loan, administered through the Minnesota Investment Fund program.
Wages for the new jobs would start at $13 plus benefits, including medical and dental insurance as well as paid time off, Aspenson said. Comcast will target veterans and military reservists, it said.
Aside from its flagship St. Paul office, Comcast has operations spread around the Twin Cities metro area, including in Minnetonka, Woodbury and Brooklyn Park.
Mystery company wants $1M to create jobs in St. Paul
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