Vivint closing Wash. call center

No explanation for closure given

June 04--A Utah company that hoped to create 400 call-center jobs in Spokane County is shutting down, just shy of a year after moving into offices in Liberty Lake.

Vivint Inc. said Tuesday it is closing the Liberty Lake location on June 27.

Company officials didn't offer an explanation for the closure or say how many workers the company employs there.

Vivint received a $150,000 incentive to open a Liberty Lake office from an economic development strategic reserve fund managed by the Washington governor's office.

"All employees are eligible to receive severance, and some employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate to Provo (Utah). If of interest, employees are encouraged to apply for other positions with Vivint, and their application will be considered," a company statement read.

Nearly all the area workers were hired to make phone calls to potential customers across the country. Vivint sells home security and energy management systems for residences.

It was leasing the former ISC-Getronics building at 22425 E. Appleway Ave.

The company's interest in Liberty Lake followed an initial contact from Greater Spokane Incorporated, which identified Vivint as a potential company suited to the workforce and business locations available here, company officials said last year.

After visiting Spokane and looking over possible office sites, Eric Patrick, then a company vice president, said last year that Liberty Lake was selected because of the area's skilled workforce and strong community support. He said Vivint considered 10 states before choosing Washington.

GSI helped Vivint obtain the $150,000 grant to help cover some of Vivint's cost of locating workers in Liberty Lake.

"That's one of the few economic development tools we have in this state," said Robin Toth, business development director for GSI.

Toth noted that many of the company executives she had met or talked with more than a year ago are no longer with the company, indicating a significant corporate redirection. She said the grant won't be refunded to the state because the company met all the conditions to receive it.

That likely occurred, she said, because privately held Vivint was acquired in 2012 by Blackstone Capital Partners for more than $2 billion.

"That (kind of shift in focus) has happened with other companies we've worked with," Toth said.

Vivint had a track record of consumer complaints in multiple states after a big expansion push from 2006 to 2012. Company officials said when they announced the Liberty Lake location that better training would help curb those business practices.

Copyright 2014 - The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.