Safelite Solutions moving Cedar Rapids office to Hiawatha

Expansion to bring 200 new jobs to area

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April 1, 2014 | 3:01 am

Safelite Solutions is moving its Cedar Rapids-based Alliance Claims Solutions business unit to an existing office building in Hiawatha and adding 200 full- and part-time jobs by the end of 2013

Alliance Claims Solutions, 1620 E Ave. NE, employs 75 at its existing call center, providing auto physical damage and auto glass claims management for small to mid-sized insurance companies. The move to 21,220 square feet of the 30,800-square-foot building at 1125 Dina Ct. in Hiawatha will provide space for the company to grow its business.

The Hiawatha building formerly housed operations of Principal Financial Group. It has been available for lease from Armstrong Development of Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett was instrumental in the initial discussions with Alliance Claims Solutions and he and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz worked to land the company's expanded facility in Cedar Rapids.

Melina Metzger, Safelite Group public relations manager, said a number of factors influenced selection of the Hiawatha location including available square footage, the quality of the buildingm the condition of the interior, more than adequate parking, existing furniture in place and the terms of the lease.

While the expansion will be in Hiawatha, Corbett said in a statement issued by Safelite Solutions that it will keep the jobs in the Cedar Rapids area.

"Not only does this retain jobs, but the addition of 200 jobs will provide Cedar Rapidians more opportunities," Corbett said.

On Tuesday night, the Cedar Rapids City Council approved a property tax incentives for developer Joe Ahmann to build a $34 million, high-end office park with restaurants and retail and service shops near Edgewood and Blairs Ferry roads NE. Corbett supported the incentive package, saying there is a lack of upscale, Class A office space in a single large development in Cedar Rapids.

Corbett pointed specifically to Safelite Solutions's decision to move and expand its Alliance Claims Solutions operation in Hiawatha, rather than in Cedar Rapids.

Jerry Beigel, senior vice president of Safelite Solutions, thanked the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, local leadership and the community for its continued partnership.

"We are excited about our expansion in Cedar Rapids and what it will mean for our customers, our employees and the community," Beigel said. "Being able to grow our business in tough economic times is a testament to the people who make SafeliteSolutions and Alliance Claims Solutions the success we are."

Hiawatha Mayor Tom Theis said he is excited that Alliance Claims Solutions has decided to stay and expand in the Cedar Rapids area.

"We look forward to supporting their needs to attract a workforce, recognizing it will provide employment opportunities not only for the citizens of Hiawatha but those throughout the region,” Theis said.

Dee Baird, president and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, said she is pleased the company made the decision to stay in this region, retaining and adding jobs.

"We are very glad Safelite chose the Creative Corridor to expand their operations," Baird said. “Safelite also is a great fit among our other financial service companies in the region."

Alliance Claims Solutions will use the Iowa New Job Training Program administered through Kirkwood Community College as it hires additional employees.

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