This story was updated April 25, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. with more information.
HomeServe USA takes wraps off new officeView 6 Photos
HomeServe USA's new Chattanooga offices house the operations center for the company's entire network of customer services, officials said Wednesday as they unveiled the Lee Highway building.
"Everything is here," said John Kitzie, chief executive of HomeServe North America, as he walked through the $5.5 million facility that holds its 325-person workforce in the city.
The Norwalk, Conn.-based company, which provides homeowners with monthly plans to cover major household repairs, has 3.5 million customers.
Kitzie said the new 46,000-square-foot structure located near Shallowford Road has even more employees than the Norwalk, Conn., headquarters for the company that provides homeowners with monthly plans to cover major household repairs.
And, plans are to grow to about 450 employees in Chattanooga within two to three years, he said. Kitzie said that in addition to serving as a call center, the facility holds information technology, billing and other back-office posts.
"This is the heart," he said, adding that it benefits clients when customer services are together in one location. "There are a broad spectrum of functions we do here."
HomeServe started up in Chattanooga in 2010 with 35 employees in leased space at The Pointe Corporate Centre off East Brainerd Road. Two expansions filled that site and prompted the new building, which officials said has room for growth.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said the city last year created jobs at a higher rate than the national average.
"HomeServe is part of that," he said. HomeServe is bringing "good-paying jobs to the community," Berke said.
HomeServe last year received a five-year property tax break for plans to create 192 jobs. The company then estimated that 133 of the jobs will pay around $17 an hour, or about $35,000 a year. Other office and management positions will earn more, driving up the average wage to $39,250 annually for the 192 positions.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said that business expansions are as important as attracting a new company. He said HomeServe is the 100th expansion in the county since January 2011.
"People in the private sector keep stepping up," Coppinger said.
City Councilwoman Carol Berz said work is underway to try to place a traffic light on Lee Highway for the business.
"And we need to work on more parking," she said.
Bob Rolfe, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said that "two or three expansions is something we're all proud of."
He said that 70 percent of business projects in the state are expansions of existing companies.
Charles Wood, that Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president for economic development, said there's a saying in Texas that "You dance with the one that brung ya."
"When a company is in a continuous growth pattern, it's about talent," he said. "It's important to take care of the ones that brung us."
Kitzie, who earlier this month became CEO after serving as the company's chief operating officer, said the Chattanooga facility operates for 24 hours, 365 days of the year.
"We never close," he said. "We're monitoring everything from all the jobs happening."
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6319. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.