Call center fills empty downtown building with new jobs

The office building at Broadway and Charnelton in Eugene. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- A Florida-based call center company is looking for hundreds of workers to fill its new location in downtown Eugene by next month.

"Sykes Enterprises" announced it will move in at the 44,000-square-foot building that used to be occupied by Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Charnelton and W. Broadway.

Sykes Enterprises handles customer service calls for other companies.

Officials with the business said they expect to fill those jobs, as the unemployment rate in Eugene and Springfield hovers at around 8 percent.

Jack Roberts, the director at Lane Metro Partnership, said the new call center would bring over 400 new jobs starting at around $10 an hour to the Eugene/Springfield area.

"For any community, having this workforce is a good addition to the mix of people that you have," said Roberts.

The Lane Metro Partnership helped bring the company to the area. Roberts said there were several things that drew Sykes Enterprises to Eugene.

"It's ready to go. That was the they call it plug-and-play. You just come in, get set up," Roberts said.

He added that Sykes saw the opportunities that the downtown area provided for their business. Once considered a problem, Eugene's downtown district is on the upswing with dozens of businesses taking advantage of the recent upswing.

Signs are up for the Portland-based pizza company - Sizzle Pie - which is set to open in April.

The Bijou Metro Theatre is under construction, alongside other new businesses that have already opened shop.

Adam Becker, who works in the downtown area, said it's a welcome change.

"I've been here for 20 years, and downtown was totally dead - back then with the pedestrian mall and all the businesses," Becker said. "So its great that they're finally coming back and having a lively downtown again."

"I think a lot of the holes and empty businesses have been here too long," said downtown employee Becky Thomas.

Sykes Enterprises said they plan on moving in April, and filling the 400+ jobs within the first 18 months. Applications can be submitted on their website.