ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A plan to bring hundreds of new tech-related jobs to downtown Albuquerque has been put on an indefinite hiatus.
Back in August 2018, customer service firm “TaskUs” announced it would bring as many as 700 new jobs to downtown Albuquerque, with plans to build its operation inside of the First Plaza Galeria building on Second Street.
Since the announcement, however, TaskUs has yet to make a single hire in Albuquerque.
While Keller administration officials say the company “remains committed to Albuquerque” and the company says in part that it has “open lines of communication with the city,” it’s unclear if or when TaskUs’ Albuquerque plan will even happen.
Albuquerque City Councilor Ken Sanchez was among those who attended TaskUs’ 2018 news conference.
“That was some very exciting news,” said Sanchez, recalling the announcement. “There was a lot of excitement in the area, and a lot of hope and promise for the downtown area.”
TaskUs, which bills itself as a customer service company, provides “outsourcing” services to many internet-based companies, including call center operations, content moderation and data entry.
According to city planning documents, the tech-focused company planned to hire at least 695 people in downtown with an annual payroll of $28-million. Those hires were tied to a $5.9-million industrial revenue bond package, promising the funds in exchange for 448 employees working by December 31, 2019 and 614 employees working by December 31, 2020.
With roughly two months until TaskUs’ first deadline, the city of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department tells KRQE News 13 that the project has been delayed.
“TaskUs never signed the final (project participation agreement),” said Sanchez.
Online, TaskUs’ Albuquerque announcement webpage has been removed. The First Plaza Galeria site also hasn’t seen the major renovation TaskUs outlined in building remodel renderings presented at its Albuquerque news conference.
“A lot of good energy in our economy is taking place, but then again, you have those speed humps in the road that really hurt,” said Councilor Ken Sanchez, reacting to the delay.
Archived news releases show TaskUs was sold to a new ownership group called “Blackstone,” just weeks before the city’s job announcement news conference. Under new ownership, TaskUs has paused its once planned U.S. expansion plan.
“I thought this would have been a perfect opportunity for our young kids to stay right here in Albuquerque,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez says remains optimistic, even though TaskUs no longer has definite plans in Albuquerque.
“I think once (Blackstone) come(s) to Albuquerque, and we sell to this company, like we sold to TaskUs, the Albuquerque market and the environment, that (Blackstone) will be here,” said Sanchez. “So I am very hopeful, I’m very optimistic like I was the day they said they were coming.”
The city of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department provided the following statement:
“TaskUs remains committed to Albuquerque but is being strategic about their expansion and growth following its acquisition by Blackstone. Albuquerque has already proven it is an ideal location and TaskUs has indicated that Albuquerque is a premier location for TaskUs once they resume their US expansion plans. We look forward to continuing to work with TaskUs.”Synthia Jaramillo, City of Albuquerque Economic Development Director
While the city approved using up to $5.9-million in bond funds for TaskUs, the company hasn’t received any of that money yet.
In response to a request for comment about the situation, a spokesperson for TaskUs provided the following statement Thursday:
“Albuquerque is still a great option for TaskUs, and we’re still working through the timeline. As a fast-moving and high-growth company, timelines sometimes shift. TaskUs has had open lines of communication with the city throughout the process.”TaskUs Spokesperson