One of Lawrence’s larger call center operations is going through a major downsizing and layoffs.
Omaha-based Affinitas Corp. is taking steps to close its Lawrence call center in the former Riverfront Mall in downtown Lawrence.
Doug Brown, a broker with McGrew Commercial, confirmed negotiations are under way for Affinitas to leave the center before its lease expires in July. Brown said talks are ongoing to bring in a new tenant to occupy the space that once served as the customer care center for the entire Sprint PCS brand.
“The bad news is it looks like we’re losing Affinitas, but the good news is the new tenant will have more jobs and likely higher-paying jobs,” Brown said.
Several people claiming to be Affinitas employees posted messages on social networking sites earlier this week that the company had laid off most of its Lawrence employees. A spokesman at Affinitas did not return a call for comment. An employee at the Lawrence center said she could not comment, but the front desk at the Lawrence office had a flier attached to it providing information to employees who had recently been laid off.
Affinitas provided customer service and call center services to other companies, including several of the larger cable companies in the country. During its heyday, Brown said the company employed 300 people. As recently as the summer of 2011, the company still had 200 employees at the center.
The Journal-World reported in January that the Lawrence center, which is on the lower level of the former Riverfront Mall, reduced its workforce and cut the hours of remaining employees.
Brown declined to provide additional information on the possible new tenant for the space, other than to say it would include a call center function.
“We’re waiting day to day to hear information about it,” Brown said.
The space that Affinitas is vacating is owned by members of the Simons family, who also are owners of the Journal-World.