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          Front Page




Firm to Bring 1,200 High-Pay Jobs to City

Updated: Story has been updated to reflect events on Thursday.

By Andrew Webb
Copyright 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer

    SANTA FE   —   New Mexico government and economic development officials on Thursday hailed Fidelity Investments' plans to expand its Human Resources Services division to Albuquerque, where it plans eventually to employ up to 1,250.
    "This really seals the fact that we can compete on a national and international level," Clark Krause, president of the nonprofit New Mexico Economic Development Partnership, said in an interview after Thursday's announcement by Gov. Bill Richardson.
    "We are honored to have this national powerhouse in the state," Richardson said, calling Fidelity "one of America's blue chip companies."
    Fidelity plans to begin hiring this summer for a temporary location at the former Lockheed Martin building at the corner of University and Avenida Cesar Chavez SE, which was recently purchased for $3.2 million by the University of New Mexico. Fidelity will pay $2 million to renovate the building, eventually returning it to UNM as a student center.
    In 2009, the company plans to move to a new 210,000-square-foot, two-story office space at Mesa del Sol, where it will ramp up to full capacity in about five years.
    Employees there will earn salaries ranging from $25,000 to $65,000, serving Fidelity's corporate clients with outsourced human resources products like payroll and benefits management, officials said Thursday.
    Pat Goepel, president of Fidelity Human Resource Services, said most of the 1,250 employees will ultimately be hired locally.
    Albuquerque competed against several other cities and states for Fidelity's expansion.
    The state pitched $47 million in incentives, ranging from $14 million in capital outlay for infrastructure at Fidelity's planned 25-acre campus at Mesa del Sol, to longer-term benefits like job training funds and tax credits aimed at financial services companies and providers of high-wage jobs.
    Mesa del Sol developer Forest City Covington will build the building, and Fidelity will lease with an option to buy.
    "Fidelity has validated what we have always believed   —   that New Mexico is the best place to do business," said Albert Ratner, co-chairman of the board of Forest City Covington's Cleveland-based parent, Forest City Enterprises.
    Goepel said the final decision came down to the attention Fidelity got from New Mexico. "We already feel at home," he said.
    Fidelity Investments manages $1.6 trillion in investments for 24 million clients. It employs 46,000 around the world.
    Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez ruffled a few feathers when he told the Journal Wednesday   —   24 hours before the news conference   —   about Fidelity's plans to expand to Albuquerque. At that time he said employees would earn an average salary of $60,000.
    On Thursday, the state and company clarified the $60,000 figure was the high end of the salary range.