When Champion Paper closed in 2012, it was one of the biggest blows to a city that was already struggling to stay on its feet. Champion’s former corporate headquarters, now Vora Technology Park, sat underutilized on the east side of the river while the Mill sat vacant on the west bank. Barclaycard’s announcement to move its new customer care center to Vora was one of the largest job announcements in Ohio in years, and it was the most significant example of business attraction in Hamilton in decades.
Over 3,000 new jobs have been created in Hamilton in the past few years, 1,500 of them by Barclaycard alone. While many of them will be filled by Hamiltonians, they will also be filled by people from outside of Hamilton, who will come into the city every day to eat lunch and shop at our local businesses. Leaders at Barclaycard and other companies get involved with Hamilton’s non-profits, including organizing employee volunteers and sponsoring community events such as Operation Pumpkin and IceFest.
In addition to an initial $9.3 million investment to bring the fourth floor of Vora Technology Park back to life, Barclaycard is now also renovating the third floor of the building. Once it is completed, they will occupy 64,000 square feet of office space and be able to employ over 750 people. These employees work in Investigations, Disputes, Fraud, Collections, and Quality for credit card clients.
But Barclaycard is doing more than just filling old and underused office space. Reviving buildings and spaces that have been of paramount importance to our past generates strong positive momentum that can be harnessed to kickstart even more progress. This progress is evident along High and Main Streets, which have seen nearly two dozen small businesses open over the past several years.
By choosing Hamilton to locate, international companies such as Barclaycard are confirming that Hamilton is a place worth investing in. Across the river, another Champion building will soon see even more investment. Spooky Nook Sports is currently in the process of developing plans for a $100+ million sports complex at the former Champion Paper Mill, a facility that is expected to bring a million visitors to Hamilton per year. The positive results of this kind of business attraction are clear to see.