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NEW YORK CITY-In one of the largest economic development deals in recent Jefferson County history, customer service management firm Stream International will establish its first New York presence by year’s end at a 76,000-sf facility within the Watertown Empire Zone.

The Canton, MA-based company will spend $8 million building out upstate Watertown’s former Woolworth Building at 146 Arsenal St. The North Country property will house a customer interaction center that will create 700 jobs for the area. Renovations are scheduled to begin within the next few weeks with an opening planned for later this year. Watertown will be the global concern’s fifth US customer interaction center.

The Woolworth Building site was made definite last month when New York State Senator James A. Wright secured a $500,000 state Legislative grant for the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency to acquire the property. The acquisition of the property allows for local ownership and control of the asset. The grant covers the entire purchase price of the building and the sale closed yesterday.

The property had been owned by Tarrytown-based Juster Development Inc., with JCIDA holding an option on the property. The agency extended its option on the building as negotiations with Stream continued.

“By purchasing the Woolworth Building we were no longer forced to negotiate with a third-party intermediary and it provided additional incentive for Stream to come to Watertown,” says Senator Wright. “In this highly competitive economy it is important to make these investments in order to attract new employers such as Stream.”

In return for its commitment to open the Watertown facility and create jobs in New York, Stream will be eligible to apply for $2.95 million in training funds and $400,000 in assistance from the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. The Company is also eligible for Empire Zone incentives based on investment and job creation within the Empire Zone. Details of Stream’s lease agreement are not being released.

In addition to the state assistance, Stream will also receive a number of financial incentives at the local level. These incentives include a 14-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, along with a $500,000 grant from Jefferson County, and a $250,000 grant through the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency (JCIDA).

Stream, with more than 12,000 employees, is a global provider of support services to technology companies and e-businesses. Its parent company, Milpita, CA-based Solectron, provides products and services to technology companies covering the entire supply chain from production to logistics and customer service.

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