PAWTUCKET — A health monitoring “call center” based out of New York is moving to a vacant commercial building at 100 Freight Street and bringing with it the promise of 250 jobs.
City officials are hailing the move of Tunstall/American Medical Alert Corporation, which is also purchasing the large brick building, as a bright spot both for those seeking employment as well as that downtrodden neighborhood. In a recent letter to the City Council, Mayor Donald Grebien stated that “AMAC is just the kind of successful and jobs-intensive company the city should continue to work to attract, particularly to a historically economically distressed area such as around Freight Street.”
The AMAC unit, with headquarters in New York and annual sales in 2010 of more than $40 million, would consolidate its smaller Cranston facility here and grow the the number of jobs to 250 over the next two years. AMAC was acquired last year by British-based Tunstall Group Ltd., with annual sales of $300 million, “further attesting to its financial stability,” said Grebien.
The Freight Street building has been empty since Bank of New York Mellon Corp. moved its operations to Massachusetts last year. There had previously been some discussion among city officials about acquiring the building for municipal functions in light of the ongoing problems with a leaking tower at Pawtucket City Hall.
Grebien noted that the move was the result of “hard work by members of my administration, led by Administration Director Tony Pires, and in cooperation with the Governor's Office and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.”
As part of the relocation deal, there is a legislative proposal to designate federal census tracts encompassing the Freight Street site within the city as a state enterprise zone under the state's Distressed Areas Economic Revitalization Act.
Under the proposal, the state, through the Department of Labor and Training, will be providing job training for 60 future Tunstall employees. It will also provide tax incentives for the company tied to the new jobs through the enterprise zoning program. At its Nov. 7 meeting, the City Council voted to support a resolution from the mayor in support of the legislation and urging the local delegation to pass it.
“This major investment by a leading company in its field is great news for the city and helps assure Pawtucket will be on the map when other corporations are looking for outstanding places to do business from Boston to New York, where AMAC is headquarterd,” said Grebien, in a press release. “The city administration will now take an active role to help assure that AMAC gets what it may need, as we go forward in cooperation with the Pawtucket City Council, to bring an eventual 250 jobs here and become a building block for our local economy.”