There was a ribbon-cutting Thursday to honor a new tenant with hundreds of new Dallas workers at the Reimagine RedBird development near U.S. Route 67 and Interstate 20.
Chime Solutions already has 500 workers on the job answering phones for Fortune 500 companies in the new call center office. The company plans to expand with 500 more new Dallas employees soon.
Chime Solutions CEO Mark Wilson said his company invested millions of dollars in technology to support the call center. He said generous benefits come along with the new jobs his firm is creating.
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“For us, it's an easy decision to invest in this community, bring our services here and take advantage of all the rich talent that lives here,” Wilson said.
The City of Dallas invested $2 million economic development dollars in the Chime deal in return for 1,000 new jobs with $15 an hour minimum payroll that would provide residents with new spending power.
“That's $40 million going into this one community, so it's a good investment for the City of Dallas to invest in RedBird mall,” City Council Member Tennell Atkins said.
The former Southwest Center Mall was renamed Red Bird by the new owner who purchased the property four years ago as a throwback to the mall’s original 1975 name.
Developer Peter Brodsky had to reimagine the tenant mix as the world of anchor retail stores changed.
“We decided we didn't want to tie the fate of our investment to an industry like retail that's struggling so much,” Brodsky said. “We quickly shifted to thinking, what are some of the other uses for buildings and landed on office and medical.”
The former Sears store has been leased for a UT Southwestern medical office. A portion of the former Dillard’s will become a Parkland Hospital clinic.
The medical offices will add hundreds more employees along with their patients, providing new customers for the shopping center site.
At the same time, new retail space is under construction in former parking lots. A park is planned in front of the new retail space.
“We’re drawing a lot of people to the site to do things they can’t do on the web,” Brodsky said.
Wilson said the arrangement can be profitable for investors, too.
“We just feel like the intersection between doing good business and providing good service for our clients and having the focus of trying to develop folks so they have a positive impact on the community, they work well together. They’re not mutually exclusive. They work well together,” Wilson said.
A new apartment complex is also under construction in a former mall parking lot with other new development planned to make the project a new kind of neighborhood.
Longtime community activist Edna Pemberton attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. She said changes underway at the property are finally evidence of the revival neighbors fought years to achieve for the mall area.