Call center might bring 500 jobs to East Bremerton

"With fingers as tightly crossed as lips are sealed, Kitsap County officials anxiously are awaiting word on whether an employer dangling 500 new jobs will choose an East Bremerton site.It's a call center, County Commissioner Chris Endresen said. But not one of those kind where they call you up and try to sell you something.Endresen and Commissioner Tim Botkin confirmed that a location north of Bremerton has made the finalist list of an international firm looking to establish a customer service call center.They are very close (to making a decision), Endresen said. You will recognize their name. They are nationally known.Endresen said company officials indicated they will make a decision soon.We continue to work it, said Kevin Dwyer, director of business recruitment and marketing for the Economic Development Council of Kitsap County. For confidential reasons, we can't disclose the name of the company.Endresen said Kitsap County and the EDC have been working with the company for about eight months.Tim Arnold, president of Bradley Scott Commercial Real Estate in Bremerton and a longtime EDC official, said at a recent Bremerton City Council meeting that an international company was on the cusp of bringing 450-550 jobs to East Bremerton. Arnold said the company was so close to making a decision, officials might begin taking job applications the first half of next year.He castigated city government officials in Bremerton for the appearance of disfunctionality they have displayed during recent internal disputes. He said that could have a negative effect on future businesses relocating in Bremerton.Several other companies have considered Kitsap County as a site for call centers, including USA Networks. Another high-tech company considered the J.C. Penney building in downtown Bremerton, but rejected it. Bremer Trust officials at Olympic College would not name the firm interested in downtown Bremerton. The trust is now planning to convert the J.C. Penney edifice into a multi-level, 600-car parking garage. Meanwhile, Endresen said Kitsap County and EDC officials can say little more about the company looking at East Bremerton because the decision process is at such a delicate stage.There is a lot involved, Endresen said.Endresen did confirm that if the company picks Kitsap County, it would build a new facility and not renovate or upgrade an existing one. "

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