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T-Mobile planning to relocate customer call center to eastern Henrico and hire up to 500 more employees

T-Mobile planning to relocate customer call center to eastern Henrico and hire up to 500 more employees

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The wireless carrier company T-Mobile is planning to relocate its Henrico County customer service center to another site in the county and hire up to 500 additional employees.

The company is planning to move what it calls its “customer experience center” from its current location at 100 Westgate Parkway in western Henrico into the former Sam’s Club building at 4571 S. Laburnum Ave. in the White Oak Village shopping center in eastern Henrico.

The relocation means the company will retain 800 local jobs and add up to 500 more, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced on Friday.

The company also is planning a $30 million investment to upgrade the 134,000-square-foot building, state and local officials said. The total employment at the new customer center will be about 1,300 full-time jobs.

The new jobs are expected to be added over a three-year period and would pay an average salary of about $59,000 a year, said Anthony J. Romanello, executive director of the Henrico County Economic Development Authority.

“These are the folks who are handling the most complex customer service,” he said. “They are providing high-level service to the customer, so accordingly, they are well trained and well compensated.”

T-Mobile has been planning the move for some time and is already retrofitting the former Sam’s Club building, he said. The company wants to move into the site by October.

“The big news today is the 500 new jobs,” Romanello said. “These are new economy jobs, and I think we are going to see more of this. One of the things I am really proud of with this project is we are repurposing a big-box retailer. We are taking a vacant big-box [store] and turning it into an employment center.”

Walmart, the parent company of the Sam’s Club chain of warehouse stores, announced in January 2018 that it was closing the Laburnum Avenue store as part of a plan to shutter 63 Sam’s Clubs nationwide. The closure cost about 163 local jobs.

The 134,374-square-foot club warehouse building was built in 2009. The building and the 16.4 acres was assessed for $11.5 million in 2020, the county’s online property records show.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Henrico Economic Development Authority to secure the T-Mobile project for Virginia. Northam approved a $826,350 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund as an incentive for the project, which will help cover some of the $30 million investment.

That investment includes real estate acquisition along with upgrades and outfitting the building, Romanello said.

T-Mobile also is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, as well as the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.

Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

T-Mobile, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., employed more than 1,300 people in Virginia before completing a $31.6 billion merger with its smaller rival company Sprint in April. The company has since added more than 1,000 employees in Virginia as the two companies have integrated, state officials said.

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