A significant opportunity to enhance downtown Paducah -- and simultaneously provide more jobs to the city -- emerged late last month when TTEC, once known as TeleTech, announced it would vacate its 401 Kentucky Ave. location.
The call center will exit downtown in coming months so it can consolidate at Commerce Park, where it operates a second site.
A company spokesman said TTEC is "not reducing workforce, just consolidating our physical footprint."
The downtown departure gives the Greater Paducah Economic Development agency, in need of a signature recruitment win, a chance to market a renovated office building -- about $1.1 million went into it five years ago -- in a prime location to potential buyers.
It's the editorial board's hope, and we're sure GPED's too, that a new, linchpin tenant can be persuaded downtown.
The opportunity -- there's that word again -- isn't lost on Glen Anderson, GPED's interim president, CEO and board chairman.
He told The Sun the building at the corner of Kentucky Avenue and Fourth Street is important to downtown -- as an enterprise and a catalyst.
"We want activity downtown, activity which helps support the other businesses in the area," Anderson said.
"We're looking to fill that building with a business that would be appropriate."
But, opportunity doesn't exist without risk, and while the editorial board shares GPED's optimism for the building's future, we'd be remiss if we didn't express concern. Namely, that downtown's recent struggles continue and another location -- this one bigger and impossible to dismiss -- sits vacant for an extended period.
Such a scenario very well could have unfolded at the former AmerisourceBergen building, 120,000 square feet at 322 N. Third St., if not for GenCanna, a hemp product manufacturer, swooping in and scooping up the property last year.
GPED and the city shouldn't count on that kind of lightning-in-a-bottle good luck happening twice in a short span.
Hope for the best, yes, always. But prepare a killer presentation just in case.
The pitch could easily be this: now's the time to plant stakes downtown, which doesn't need a rebuild as much as it does a reboot.
Positive traits exist already. Some of them:
• A new neighbor is coming soon in an emerging industry -- GenCanna.
• The city is pursuing a Tax Increment Financing district to spur public and private investment.
• Several new businesses have announced openings recently, meaning others continue to see downtown's potential.
• There's diversity and uniqueness in the existing stores, restaurants and cultural offerings.
• The area has a residential component, one that isn't being used as it should be, but is ripe for growth with a smarter approach.
• Lastly, downtown boasts a wonderful natural amenity -- the riverfront.
PED can go a long way in adding to this list, and what we all hope is downtown's resurgence, by landing the right tenant for the Kentucky Avenue building.
The organization should think big and act bold. It's the right risk at the right time.