The scoop behind the project and what’s in store for the community
For Meridian Township, 2020 has some exciting news in store for its community, local businesses and higher education facilities. In November, Wayfair, a Fortune 500 internet retail company and e-commerce giant, finalized its decision to open a new customer service center in the Lansing-area. The building, a previously vacant office space on Hagadorn Road, is over 63,000 square feet and will provide 500 new jobs to Meridian Township. With intentions to take control of the space this spring, the Boston-based company will spend its first six months “Wayfair-izing” the building’s interior and begin the hiring process at the start of summer.
“This was a LEAP project that we recruited intentionally from start to finish,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. “Initially, Wayfair was examining multiple sites for its customer service center across the whole country, including various sites and regions in the state of Michigan. LEAP became so important in this situation because it was our region competing against other regions. In a collective effort, we had to showcase everything we could in order to portray ourselves as the best, most competitive environment for Wayfair’s facilities.”
Among Meridian Township’s impressive qualities, the region’s two highly regarded educational facilities served as enticing and competitive offerings.
“Wayfair was really impressed with the new graduates coming out of Lansing Community College and Michigan State University, which is their target audience for employees,” said Chris Buck, economic development director for Meridian Township. “So, to have an office space adjacent to campus was just a great way for them to put all of these 500 future employees under one roof. We’ve talked for decades about how to keep recent graduates from leaving the region, and I think having a wider employment base for entry-level graduates was critical.”
Atop of the encouraging partnership between Wayfair and Lansing’s educational facilities, the company’s presence is equally expected to revitalize the community’s business district. Buck said that even with all of the things Meridian Township has going for it — world-class school districts, sought-after subdivisions, tons of commercial shopping — the township has been continually working to enhance its local workforce options. Wayfair’s arrival will not only energize the area with availability to more jobs but also through attracting new people to the area and by those people inhabiting the housing options that surround the new office building.
As the project nears its 2020 start date, the community can expect a three-year time frame for Wayfair to fulfill all 500 customer service jobs.
“Wayfair intends to spend their first six months, from spring to about early fall, completing a full interior build-out,” said Keith Lambert, vice president of business attraction at LEAP. “Then, to align with those efforts, will ramp up hiring over the summer by doing so in tiers of 20- to 25-person cohorts. The company will continue this hiring process steadily over a span of three years, while also providing training programs to each new hire.”