NEW ROCHELLE, NY-The city has convinced a Connecticut-based telecommunications services company to house a customer service and network operations center in the Downtown district. eLECT Communications, which is currently headquartered at 509 Westport Ave. in Norwalk, has purchased the 40,000-sf office building at 543 Main St. for $1.5 million.

The previous tenant, mail order marketer Lillian Vernon Corp., used the building for its call center until those operations were relocated to Virginia Beach. Up until two years ago, the building served as company headquarters, which have been moved to One Theall Road in Rye, NY.

Paul Riss, chief executive officer of eLEC Communications, says the company eventually will use the building for its corporate headquarters while maintaining a presence in Norwalk, where it currently leases approximately 14,000 sf.

Riss notes, “Our rapid growth requires us to expand our back-end facilities so that we can continue to execute our plan and serve our customers. We conducted a nationwide search for a new location to support our customer service center growth and to provide us with an additional point of presence in our packet-switched network. We are very pleased to have acquired a building in New Rochelle that was formerly used as a customer service center and is two blocks from a major (Verizon) ILEC Central Office. We are equally pleased with New Rochelle’s labor pool and its training centers. These factors will help us bring new jobs to the city.”

The company closed on the sales transaction with Port Chester Properties, an entity controlled by the Hochberg family (the family of company founder Lillian Vernon) on Dec. 8. eLEC has met with the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency which “induced” the property at a meeting on Dec. 7. Riss says that the amount of financial assistance to be provided by the New Rochelle IDA has not been ascertained as yet. In the near future, the company plans to bring fiber-optic communications capabilities to the property.

New Rochelle Mayor Timothy Idoni says, “We are delighted with eLEC’s decision to buy property in our city. The city has recently begun to focus on attracting high-tech, high-growth companies, and eLEC is a perfect anchor, right in the middle of the Downtown area. We look forward to working with them to develop a digital district and to supporting their growth.”

eLEC is a publicly-traded local telecommunications company that offers local and long distance service, dial-up Internet access, high-speed DSL access and web site design and hosting. The company is currently marketing its local phone service in eight states and recently received licensing approval from another 13 states. The company eventually plans to offer its services in 48 states.

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