BANGOR, Maine — L.L. Bean will clear out of its Bangor call center a month earlier than expected in order to make way for the next tenant, company officials confirmed Thursday.
Employees were notified on Wednesday that the call center would shut down at the end of March so the next tenant could begin preparations to move into the building, according to L.L. Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem.
City officials say they’re close to closing a deal with a new company to take over the 30,000-square-foot space.
“The City of Bangor is in fact working toward a successful conclusion of negotiations with a new tenant for the building that L.L. Bean will be vacating,” said Tanya Emery, the city’s economic development director. “The city has worked closely with L.L. Bean through this process and we are grateful for their willingness to assist us in attracting a new company to fill this space and create new jobs in Bangor.
Neither the city nor L.L. Bean were prepared to name the new tenant Thursday.
Bangor owns the building at the intersection of Maine Avenue and Godfrey Boulevard and has leased it to L.L. Bean since 2005.
About 200 year-round employees work there, with hundreds more seasonal employees joining during the holidays. Beem said about 80 percent of those employees have accepted positions at other call centers or in other parts of the company, and some are working from home. A handful of others retired or left the company, she said.
Emery said she wasn’t yet at liberty to say how the new leaseholder would use the building, or how many people would be working there.
“We look forward to the successful completion of these negotiations and a full announcement in the coming weeks,” she said.
The 104-year-old retailer announced in August 2014 its plan to close the call center in Bangor to reduce its facilities overhead costs. The company stated it wanted to retain the bulk of its employees from the call center.
In addition to a sea of cubicles, the Bangor customer service center includes a kitchen and dining area and an employee fitness center.
The retailer initially leased the city-owned building for five years at $19,375 a month, with options to renew the lease.
The city bought the building from Irving for $2.7 million in 2005, provided a total of $981,900 for building improvements and expanded the parking lot.
Beam said L.L. Bean has had “a great relationship” with the city and wanted to help make this transition as easy as possible by announcing their intentions to leave more than a year in advance, and later by agreeing to leave early.
“The city has worked closely with L.L. Bean through this process and we are grateful for their willingness to assist us in attracting a new company to fill this space and create new jobs in Bangor,” Emery said.
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