City Council Approves Incentive To Starwood Hotels

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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UPDATE: Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Wichita City Council voted to approve the $200,000 forgivable loan to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

The company is seeking incentives from the state, county, and city.

According to Wichita Urban Development Director Allen Bell, the return-on-investment for the proposed project is 2.54 to 1 for City of Wichita and 2.49 to 1 for Sedgwick County.

The proposal shows that Starwood will hire 532 full time positions in the first year of operation with an average wage of nearly $24,000. They expect to hire a total of 907 full time positions by the fifth year.

Sedgwick County will be considering a $200,000 forgivable loan at tomorrow's meeting.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. announced today that it will open a new Customer Contact Center in the former Wichita Mall building, near Hillside and Harry, in southeast Wichita.

The new center’s associates will help Starwood guests book reservations and provide Starwood Preferred Guest member services.

Starwood has 1,134 hotels in nearly 100 companies and owns hotel brands such as Westin, Sheraton, and Four Points.

"We searched across the nation for our location. Wichita really rose to the top. It was all about the people in Wichita that we really think are going to be a great fit for Starwood," said Maire Griffin, Starwood spokesperson.

The center’s inaugural class will include approximately 180 positions. Starwood plans to significantly expand the center over the next five years and add a total of more than 900 new jobs.

The company plans to spend nearly $5 million in capital investment at the new call center. They are asking the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County to offer $200,000 each in forgivable loan funds to offset build-out and capital investment costs.

"This is something that's [not] new to our market but certainly something that's needed here, not to mention the fact, the total number of jobs," said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.

The agreement notes that the company will get one-fifth of the loan amount forgiven if the job creation and wage commitments are met. It also states that if the company ceases operations in Wichita within the five-year loan period, the entire principal plus interest will be immediately due.

The return-on-investment for the proposed project is 4.4 to one for the City of Wichita and 2.16 to one for Sedgwick County.

The City Council will consider the incentive at Tuesday's meeting.

Starting on May 20, those interested in applying for a position at the new center can click here to learn more about available opportunities and apply.

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