LEWISTON — Downtown’s newest call center opened for business so quietly, the owner wasn’t even aware.

Argo Marketing owner Jason Levesque said he was touring the Park Street call center Dec. 20 with Lewiston city officials while his computer networking staff worked to set the computer systems up. Five of the call center’s employees were on hand, too, helping to set up.

“I turned to look, but I couldn’t see where they were,” Levesque said. “So I asked my IT guy; ‘Where did they go? Did you send them back to the other office?’ And he said, ‘No, they were taking calls.'”

And just like that, his call center in basement of the old McCrory’s Department Store was open.

Levesque said the center has 90 employees working over two shifts but he hopes to ramp up to 150 employees by March.

There’s plenty of room for growth, too. Levesque said the center has room for 250 call center staff.

“Everything we do is in the cloud, so you can plug and play,” he said. “Once they can log in and we have good connectivity, that’s it. It’s been seamless.”

Levesque said the call center was the top priority in the $2.4 million renovation project. He wanted to have the 12,000-square-foot space open and operating by Jan. 1. It included space for the telephone operators as well as training rooms and supervisor offices.

Administration offices on the upper floors are due to be completed in February and the bulk of retail space along Lisbon Street and the Courthouse Plaza should be ready for tenants to begin their modifications about the same time.

Levesque said he has no retail tenants yet. There are three 1,800-square-foot spaces.

“If one tenant wanted one larger one, they could combine them,” he said. “We are trying to set aside the one facing the plaza for a cafe or eatery of some sort, both for our employees and the public. I think it will really help accentuate the plaza.”

Crews began work on the $2.4 million project in July. The city provided a facade grant of up to $150,000 for the work in addition to a life safety grant of up to $100,000 and a 10-year tax-increment financing agreement projected to return $147,000 in property taxes over a decade.

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