by David Chapman
Mayor John Peyton announced Thursday that Bank of America and Merrill Lynch would add 1,000 “high-wage” jobs to the Jacksonville market over the next several years at their Southside campuses.
The announcement came during Thursday’s fourth-quarter Cornerstone luncheon focusing on international business. Cornerstone is the economic development arm of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The hires will come from both within and outside the region, said Peyton. Campus renovations are under way for the additional hires.
With the new jobs, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch will employ about 8,000 people, according to the chamber. Bank of America owns Merrill Lynch.
With the economic downturn heavily hitting the financial market sector, Peyton said the additional jobs make the city a “net winner” in the field.
The deal has been in the works for about a year, said Ron Barton, Jacksonville Economic Development Commission executive director. While the move qualified for potential incentives, the company didn’t request any, said Barton.
“That’s a big deal,” said Barton.
Cornerstone President Jerry Mallot said the jobs would pay “in excess” of an average $45,000 to $50,000.
Mallot said hiring is beginning now and employees would be added over the next two to three yeas. He said the jobs would be in the mortgage and technical financial services areas.
“It’s a shot in the arm when we need it,” he said.
He was not sure how many would be hired at the Merrill Lynch Deerwood Park campus and how many would be employed at the Bank of America campus along Southside Boulevard near the Avenues Mall.