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Progress Energy to relocate center

The power company is moving from a Clearwater location into Bay Vista Office Park just outside Largo. The move will relocate more than 300 employees and their paychecks.

By LORRI HELFAND
Published February 4, 2004

LARGO - Progress Energy announced Tuesday that it plans to move its customer service center to the Largo area this summer.

The company is completing an agreement to buy a 70,000-square-foot center in the Bay Vista Office Park at 5225 Tech Data Drive.

Aaron Perlut, Florida spokesman for Progress Energy, said the spacious center will provide a more pleasant environment for employees, resulting in better customer service.

"For the past few years we've been investing a tremendous amount of resources so we can improve service to our Florida customers," Perlut said.

Progress Energy has two Florida customer service centers: one in Clearwater and another in Lake Mary. The company also has a few customer service employees working in St. Petersburg. The new center, to be located near Roosevelt Boulevard and 58th Street, will replace the current location at the company's operations complex on Belcher Road in Clearwater. It will house a large auditorium and improved training facilities for 315 employees, who will relocate there from the Clearwater and St. Petersburg offices.

"Because it was formerly a call center for Tech Data, it's already wired with some of the technical components that will make the transition as we move much easier," Perlut said.

City Manager Steve Stanton said Largo leaders are thrilled to have more than 300 workers relocate to the center, which is located in unincorporated Pinellas, on the fringes of Largo.

"I think it's going to bring a lot of good jobs and a lot of energy to an area that is the heart and soul and economic base for mid Pinellas County," Stanton said."We're ecstatic about it."

Perlut said the company chose the location because it was close to operations facilities and characterized it as the right facility at the right price, although he wouldn't reveal the cost.

"We wanted to find a location in Pinellas County and one that was convenient to our other operations facilities so that we could appropriately man it in terms of major events or storms," Perlut said.

St. Petersburg-based Progress Energy Florida is a subsidiary of Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. It provides service for 1.5-million customers in Florida.

- Lorri Helfand can be reached at 445-4155 or at lorri@sptimes.com

[Last modified February 4, 2004, 01:31:46]


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