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NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA-The Millbrook First Nation Band of Native Candians has inked a build-to-suit deal with Cincinatti-based Convergys Corp. for a call center at its Truro Power Centre development.

Convergys provides outsourced billing and customer and employee care services to employee- and customer-intensive industries. The 28,000-sf building will be the first-ever call center on land controlled by Native Canadians and Convergys’ third call center in Nova Scotia.

“This continues a trend of U.S. companies seeking out more competitive labor markets for customer service work,” says Shawn Mobley, SVP and manager of Jone Lang LaSalle’s Customer Contact Center Practice Group, which represented Convergys in the transaction.

Mobley tells GlobeSt.com the negotiations with the Millbrook First Nation Band began after a search for existing buildings turned up only one, which was promptly ruled out for sitting on a 100-year flood plain and a 20-year flood channel. Mobley says typically the term and rental rate requirements for a new building in Nova Scotia would have been too steep because of the perceived risk, but the Millbrook First Nation Band was willing to take more risk than a traditional developer. So instead of having to sign a 10-year lease at the estimated market rate of $12 per sf (Canadian), Convergys was able to negotiate a seven-year deal at a rate that is 10% to 20% below market.

As well, Nova Scotia Business Inc., the province’s business development agency, agreed to give Convergys a six-year payroll rebate conditioned on achiving employment targets. With Convergys expected to employ 265 full-time equivilents, the rebate is expected to be is the range of $3 million annually, effectively lowering labor costs even further.

Convergys employs more than 44,000 people in 45 customer contact centers and in data centers and other offices in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The company is one of the largest employes in Halifax, Nova Scotia, employing some 2,000 people at a call center there. The company also employs 500 in Glascow, Nova Scotia. Truro is located between the Halifax and Glascow.

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