STAMFORD, Conn. -- A major international hotelier will add 340 jobs at its Stamford headquarters, jobs that could have gone to Florida if the state hadn't kicked in financial incentives, said a top Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide official.
During a noontime announcement at its 1 StarPoint headquarters Thursday, Starwood's Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Kenneth S. Siegel said the company was facing a dilemma. It was beginning to outgrow its space while struggling to find the talent it needed.
The Stamford hotelier considered moving employees to Orlando and expanding there. But at about that same time, about a year ago, Siegel said he reached out to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
"I told him we had a choice: We could either continue to grow and expand here or the alternative was that we were going to be looking at moving some of the associates here to other facilities so could find the requisite talent and space that we needed," Siegel said.
Siegel praised the governor and state officials who he said decided "to essentially skip protocol to work directly with us and get the decisions quickly was truly exceptional."
Malloy said the deal is an example of how the state's economic development policies pay off in job creation.
The deal "demonstrates the value of our economic development programs for large companies," Malloy said. "Today's announcement of these positions moving to this location and the expansion of the footprint is a great announcement and we are really proud of it."
Connecticut will provide the company a 10-year, $5 million loan that will be forgiven if the company hits hiring targets. The state has also agreed to give Starwood up to $20 million in tax credits.
The deal will see the company grow from its current 980 employees in Stamford to more than 1,300.
Michael Pollard, chief of staff to Stamford Mayor David Martin, said the announcement will also help spur job growth in surrounding businesses, ranging from restaurants to supermarkets, as the additional employees patronize those businesses.
Educational efforts at UConn-Stamford, Norwalk Community College, Sacred Heart University and J.M. Wright Technical High School in the area of digital media will go a long way toward helping Starwood and other companies, Malloy said.
The company also announced a 20-year lease with developer Building and Land Trust for a 430,000-square-foot space at its headquarters.
Also present at the announcement were state Reps. Daniel Fox, D-148th District, and Livvy Floren, R-149th District. Catherine Smith, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, also attended.
Siegel said the company, which officially moved to Stamford two years ago, is committed to the city.
"We are staying here and growing," Siegel said. "They are good jobs, and they are high-paying jobs."