News : Wayfair Bringing 500 New Jobs to Athens
Athens, GA, USA, June 19, 2019 -- An e-commerce company is the first announced occupant of a redevelopment project at the old General Time factory on Newton Bridge Road.
With the new "customer support facility" — a type of call center — Wayfair promises to bring more than 500 jobs "paying a wage that’s going to allow people to lead a good life," Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz announced at Tuesday’s meeting of the Athens-Clarke County Commission.
Starting at $14 an hour and averaging $36,000 in annual pay, with benefits, 95 percent of the jobs would be full-time, according to documents submitted to the commission.
County documents also noted that Wayfair plans to spend about $8 million in construction at the site and start operations there by September 2020.
"This is the kick start of many other opportunities out there," said Girtz, noting that the about 45,000 square feet Wayfair will occupy is less than 20 percent of the overall square feet being redeveloped.
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An American company specializing in home goods with headquarters in Boston, Wayfair has operations in Canada and some European countries as well as the United States. The company also operates the retail websites Joss & Main, AllModern, Birch Lane and Perigold, according to its website.
"Wayfair believes everyone should live in a home they love," the company noted on its site. "Through technology and innovation, Wayfair makes it possible for shoppers to quickly and easily find exactly what they want from a selection of more than 14 million items across home furnishings, décor, home improvement, housewares, and more. ... Wayfair is reinventing the way people shop for their homes — from product discovery to final delivery."
The company got some enticements from state and local governments, benefits of $60,000 from Athens-Clarke County and $200,000 from the state. Athens-Clarke promised to grant the company $100 per new job over a three-year period, up to $50,000, plus a one-time "site award" of $10,000.
There is no property tax concession, so property taxes there will rise as the value of the property increases with the new development, noted District 6 Commissioner Jerry NeSmith.
"I’m really pleased we got this," he said.
"This looks like a good deal," said District 3 Commissioner Melissa Link.
The commission voted unanimously to authorize the deal.
Just over a year ago, the commission approved a mixed-use plan for the the former clock factory.
General Time was once a manufacturer of alarm clocks and wall clocks, selling them across the nation under several brand names including Westclox, Seth Thomas and Spartus. The building has been empty since 2001, when General Time shut down operations there.
The plan the commission approved a little more than a year ago promised a mixed-use development including retail, warehouse and restaurant spaces, a 3,000-seat amphitheater and 100 apartments. Developers also pointed to a planned connection from the property to the nearby North Oconee River Greenway near Sandy Creek Nature Center.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From Wayfair
Wayfair Inc. offers an extensive selection of home furnishings and décor across all styles and price points. The Wayfair family of brands includes: • Wayfair.com, an online destination for all things home • Joss & Main, where beautiful style meets irresistible savings • AllModern, a go-to online source for modern design • DwellStudio, a design house for fashion-forward modern furnishings • Birch Lane, a collection of classic furnishings and timeless home décor
Published: Friday, June 21, 2019