New business bringing 150 jobs to Stevens Point - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

New business bringing 150 jobs to Stevens Point

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -

A downtown Stevens Point building that's been vacant for almost five years has a new tenant.

Great Lakes Educational Loan Services is taking the place of the former Dunham's Sports building.

"Great Lakes is the second largest student loans processor in the country," said Andrew Halverson, Mayor of Stevens Point.

The mayor says sealing the deal with the Madison-based company was challenging.

"The other competition was in Minnesota, Texas, Colorado and on the east coast as well," Halverson added.

Officials with the company say they plan to create 150 jobs at the new office within two years.

The city owns the building and leased it to Great Lakes for 10 years.

City officials say $1.5 million worth of renovations will be done on the building.

"Anytime a community can have any new jobs, any amount of new jobs of course it's excellent," said Halverson.

Neighboring businesses next to the former Dunham's building, like The Wooden Chair restaurant, say they're excited.

Wood Chair owner Carrie Kawski says having 150 more workers downtown could mean more business for her restaurant.

"It could not only for me, but for all the surrounding businesses around here in the downtown district, it could be a huge asset for all of us," said Kawski.

Keith Berg, manager of Bill's Pizza Shop, agrees.

"They have to eat somewhere so we're hoping that we get some of that business in here," said Berg.

Great Lakes says the starting salary for the new jobs will be $25,000 per year.

The city says that should help pump more than four-million dollars into the local economy each year.

The company says it plans to begin hiring and training new employees next month.

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