March 27, 1997

Jill Lawrence
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
(804) 371-0049
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Bell Atlantic Plus to Open New Call Center in Hampton
-- Governor Allen Praises $26 Million Investment, 900 Potential New Jobs --

Hampton - Governor George Allen today announced that Bell Atlantic Plus, Inc., a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic Corporation, will open a new $26 million call center in the City of Hampton to provide innovative telemarketing services to its mid-Atlantic customers. The company will hire 700 new employees by April 1998, and will potentially hire an additional 200 by the end of next year. Virginia successfully competed with South Carolina for the investment.

"As our Virginia Renaissance continues to flourish, Hampton's future looks even more prosperous than its historic past," said Governor Allen. "Bell Atlantic is an internationally recognized and successful communications leader. This new call center further confirms Virginia's emergence not only as the 'Silicon Dominion,' but also as the 'heart of communication' on the East Coast."

The 125,000 square foot "megacenter" will occupy the vacant Miller & Rhoads building in the Newmarket Fair Mall and is the first of its kind for Bell Atlantic. The new site will allow Bell Atlantic Plus to market its multiple telecommunications services under one roof, providing customers with convenient access to today's innovative telecommunications services.

"During our search for a site, we kept coming back to Virginia, and specifically to Hampton," said Frank Bennett, Bell Atlantic vice president for call center development. "Virginia offers a diverse and highly educated workforce and a favorable economic environment."

"The Bell Atlantic Plus megacenter will instill new vitality to this important Mercury Boulevard commercial area," said Hampton Mayor Jimmy C. Eason. "The people of Hampton welcome Bell Atlantic Plus and this tremendous opportunity to boost our local economy."

Governor Allen approved a $200,000 Governor's Opportunity Fund grant to assist the City of Hampton with the project. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Peninsula Economic Development Council and the City of Hampton assisted the company with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.

The growth of call centers in Virginia has been extensive. Since 1993, 17 call centers have located or expanded in the Commonwealth, employing over 4,600 Virginians and investing approximately $94 million.

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