BANGOR, Maine — The City Council has given Verizon Wireless the initial go-ahead to create more parking spaces at its customer service center on Telcom Drive.
While there are no immediate plans for large-scale hiring, the customer service center has expanded its work force significantly over the past couple of years and the parking lot expansion will help solve a parking crunch and make future work force expansion much more feasible, the company said.
“We have about 200 employees currently at that center and we have some parking challenges that we need to alleviate,” said Verizon Wireless spokesman Mike Murphy. “Also, in the future, if we were to expand, it would make sense to have a larger lot for growth.
“We are filling positions throughout the year, but we have no large-scale hiring plans in the near future.”
The council this week approved a drainage easement for the customer service center, located just off Union Street, to allow Verizon Wireless to expand its parking lot next spring.
The proposed parking lot expansion “encroached slightly into the easement area, which they own, but the city has to maintain a drainage way there,” said Stephen Bolduc, Bangor’s economic development officer.
The council agreed to reconfigure the area of the easement to allow for expansion of the parking area without impeding the city’s ability to maintain a drainage way.
“We have plenty of room to allow for proper drainage. We can still get equipment in there to maintain it,” said Bolduc.
The next step for the project is for Verizon to get planning board approval for the redesign and construction of the lot.
The project plan calls for expanding the lot from 146 to 234 spaces, according to Bangor Planning Officer David Gould.
“My understanding is construction won’t start until the spring,” Bolduc said.
Bolduc said when the building on Telcom Drive was constructed by Unicel in 1997, it housed 43 employees. In April of last year, Verizon Wireless had 198 employees.
“It’s a phenomenal call center for us and one of the highest-performing ones we have nationally,” Murphy said. “They are having fantastic success and we’re tied to the community.”
The planning board will review the project proposal on Dec. 20.
“It will be on our agenda and we’re certainly in favor of that,” said Gould. “We just want to make sure they understand if the use of the building changes, the lot may have to change as well.”