Wyndham Vacation Ownership Timeshare to Get New Home

Orlando, Florida based Wyndham Vacation Ownership, will soon be moving into new offices. Wyndham timeshare, part of Wyndham Worldwide, has signed a lease to move into a building previously occupied as the headquarters of Harcourt, Inc., a company you may be familiar with as the publisher of the textbooks you read in school as a child.

The eight-story building has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking SeaWorld and the hub of Central Florida’s tourist area, International Drive. Previously, Wyndham Vacation Ownership’s 1350 employees have been operating from four separate buildings. With the move, not only will the company gain the convenience of being housed in one building, but they will be expanding personnel, adding 231 new positions.

The new space offers more meeting and gathering places, a full-service cafeteria, natural light, covered parking, and the opportunity to add amenities such as a childcare center, a nature trail or an outdoor meeting venue.

Franz Hanning, president and chief executive officer of Wyndham Vacation Ownership was quoted by the Orlando Sentinel as saying, “When it’s tough like this, people are going to stay in a job, but they will [leave] the first opportunity they get. We want to be the employer of choice. And we do a lot of things to separate ourselves from our competitors.”

The Orlando Business Journal reports that Wyndham timeshare is receiving as much as $277,200 in tax incentives from Orange County for creating the new jobs, which are anticipated to pay an average annual salary of $60,425. The Orange County incentives, to be paid out over six years, are the local share of a $1.4 million package Wyndham requested under the state of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program.

Floridians, and many vacationers, are already familiar with the building as a local landmark, originally built by textbook giant, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc. Although the Harcourt Company had many corporate partnerships, (including Harcourt, Brace & Howe; Harcourt, Brace & World, etc,) since its founding in Chicago in the early 1900s, it was during the 1970s and 1980s, as Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich (HBJ) that the company became its most diversified, including the purchase of SeaWorld and other theme parks. HBJ acquired SeaWorld in 1976 for $46 million and in 1989, divested its theme park division for $1.1 billion.

The building was once a showpiece, with its exterior including a public area with fountains and even a play space in the shape of a giant map, however, now, parts of the building have been empty for several years. Julie MacPherson, vice president of facilities for Wyndham is overseeing plans to renovate the building’s interior. MacPherson points out that with employees who put people on vacation, Wyndham timeshare is looking for ways to make the workplace help feel as if the employee themselves are on vacation.