Charter Communications Inc. plans to build a 500,000-square-foot, 15-story headquarters at 406 Washington Blvd. at Gateway at Harbor Point in Stamford, the company announced this morning.
Following its commitment to create and retain 400 jobs under the state’s First Five Program in 2012, Charter said it would create an additional 1,100 jobs in the corporate headquarters and has agreed to a total of $100 million in planned capital expenditures in Connecticut over the next several years.
“Since relocating Charter’s headquarter operations to Stamford in 2012, the company has undergone a transformation to become the second-largest cable provider in the U.S.,” Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said. “This new, state-of-the-art facility in downtown Stamford will provide Charter the necessary resources to facilitate its continued growth.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Charter to develop their new headquarters here at Gateway Harbor Point,” said Carl Kuehner, chairman of BLT, which will construct the build-to-suit facility at 406 Washington Blvd with an option to expand the site into a two-building campus. “We look forward to working with their team to create a modern workplace and ecosystem to continue Charter’s strong growth here in Stamford.”
“Charter Communications has been a steadfast corporate citizen since they relocated here in 2012,” Stamford Mayor David Martin said. “We are happy that they chose to stay in Stamford, and add jobs and expand their workforce here. This investment in our city is good news and we applaud their vote of confidence in Stamford.”
“Today is a great day for Connecticut,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy. “Charter’s announcement to create an additional 1,100 jobs shows that our strategic investments are continuing to spur economic growth and create good paying jobs in the state. We look forward to the continued success of Charter Communications as they grow within Connecticut.”
The state Department of Economic and Community Development will provide a 10-year, $10 million low-interest loan to support the project through the state’s First Five Plus program. State funding may be used for new equipment and leasehold improvements.
In addition, the company may be eligible loan forgiveness based on job creation and if employment obligations are met. Charter Communications will also receive up to $10 million in tax credits through DECD’s Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment Tax Credit program. Additional tax credits are available if the company exceeds job targets.
The project will break ground after receiving final land-use approvals from the city of Stamford.
“This is clearly good news for Connecticut and for Stamford,” Joe McGee, vice president, public policy and programs at The Business Council of Fairfield County, told the Business Journal. “There has been so much negativity in the press about Connecticut, but over the last couple of months we’ve seen Henkel coming in, Indeed expanding, and now this. There’s a lot of good news.”
McGee said he sees the Charter announcement as indicative of Stamford’s and the county’s growing momentum. “We have one of the safest small cities in America, a very good quality of life here, and a very affordable and attractive labor force.
“The other really big issue is the growing differential between here and New York City,” he continued. “We’re more competitive with our housing stock, our schools, and the cost of doing business.”
McGee predicted that “we’ll see a couple of other” major companies coming to the area over the next couple of years.
Pete Gioia, economist at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, was equally enthusiastic.
“This shows that Stamford is still a desirable and attractive alternative to New York City,” he said, noting that its rail transportation makes it particularly competitive. “This is a big boost for Stamford, Fairfield County and Connecticut,” he said. “And it will draw people from Fairfield County, Westchester County and even the city.”
Gioia also opined that, as a result of Brexit, he expected more multinational firms to give the city and the county a look when considering options for building a U.S. presence. “The whole region is really well-positioned — Norwalk, Greenwich, Darien and Westport all have very real possibilities, since they’re all dirt-cheap when compared to Manhattan.”
On Oct. 4 came word that Charter was further expanding its business footprint in Connecticut by basing its entire captive insurance operations in the state. The captive, Spectrum Communications Indemnity Inc., is the largest of 15 captives licensed in Connecticut and will provide coverage for Charter’s workers compensation, auto liability, general liability and employment practices liability.
“This is a clear example of a Connecticut company that understands that Connecticut is a great place to do business – they are growing their corporate headquarters and adding hundreds of new, good paying jobs here,” Malloy said. “And now, by establishing their entire captive insurance operations in Connecticut, they are further committing their company to our state.”
“This gives the corporation the critical tools it needs to manage its costs and reinvest in its employees and overall operations,” added Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Katharine L. Wade.
A captive insurance company is wholly owned and controlled by a parent company or association, and operates to insure the parent’s own risks. Captives are licensed and closely monitored by the state Insurance Department and provide innovative and unique solutions to problems with no other readily available market option and provide all types of business with creative financial management tools.
The Insurance Department initially licensed the captive insurer in December 2016 and Charter subsequently merged all its captive insurance operations as of May 31, 2017. As a result, the combined assets were approximately $400 million following the merger. Annual premiums are anticipated to be approximately $157 million for the current fiscal year.
The second-largest cable company in the U.S., Charter serves over 26 million customers in 41 states.