A company planning a mid-summer move of its headquarters into Grove City will instantly become one of the city's top employers.

HKT Teleservices will move more than 500 employees from its current location in Dublin to the building at 3400 Southpark Place.

"They will be in the top five of our employers in the city," Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said.

While the company was originally looking to relocate by the end of June, the move is now planned to be done in phases during July and August, said David Shapiro, the company's president.

"The logistics of the move are slowing things up a bit," he said.

It was important to get the move accomplished during the summer to meet the needs of some of HKT's major clients, which include Airbnb, HomeAdvisor and Mapfre Insurance, Shapiro said.

"We are a business process-outsourcing provider. Organizations will use us to help complete key 'back office' business processes" related to customer relations and service, technical support and sales, he said.

"We're a company that people probably haven't heard of, but they know our clients," Shapiro said.

Airbnb is HKT's largest client, he said.

Among the services HKT provides Airbnb is handling mediations between their guests and their hosts, he said. The company also conducts fraud analysis and processing of reservations and refunds for Airbnb.

HKT Teleservices' U.S. division is an operating subsidiary of HKT, a Hong-Kong based company majority-owned by PCCW Limited, an information and communications technology company, he said.

"They are the AT&T of Asia," Shapiro said.

The company is moving because of its growth and it needed a facility that could be flexible to build a "state of the art" environment for employees and its operations, he said.

The company will take up an unoccupied portion of the building at 3400 Southpark, Shapiro said.

"We'll be going from 50,000 square feet in Dublin to having about 65,000 square feet in our Grove City location," he said.

"Grove City is an ideal location for us, first because of its proximity to downtown Columbus and easy access to the interstate," Shapiro said.

The city also provides an employee base that will be beneficial when the company expands and offers a variety of housing and options for services such as day care and recreation for its employees, he said.

Grove City's location "played a big part in our favor" to attract HKT, as did its strong work force, Stage said.

HKT is receiving a seven-year tax abatement from the city that will reduce its net payroll-tax payments by 40 percent from all employees from the first $15 million of payroll in a calendar year. The tax break will increase to 70 percent for all employees of any payroll in excess of $15 million in a calendar year.

The city will recommend that the Community Improvement Corporation provide a grant of $35,000 to offset the costs associated with the relocation of an electrical generator.

The building at 3400 Southpark is in an existing Community Reinvestment Area, and the city will support a 10-year 100 percent abatement for the existing structure and a 15-year, 100 percent abatement for any new construction at the site.

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