Rio Rancho Observer
By Antonio Sanchez, Reporter
PUBLISHED: Feb 6, 2016

BERNALILLO — On the eve of the Sprint customer service center in Rio Rancho shutting down, an economic development leader told Sandoval County commissioners the building could be filled by a new tenant “in the next few months.”

Jami Grindatto, president and CEO of the Sandoval Economic Alliance, presented a quarterly annual report to commissioners at Thursday’s commission meeting.

Grindatto said he was optimistic a new business would occupy the Sprint building soon. Sprint announced it was closing the Rio Rancho site Jan. 23, affecting 394 employees.

“With Sprint, they gave us a heads-up that they were either renegotiating the lease or there was a possibility that they might make a corporate decision,” Grindatto said. “They didn’t tell us what it was, but when you hear something like this, you’re saying ‘Uh-oh, we need to do something.’”

Before a decision was made, Grindatto said, SEA worked with Sprint’s brokers to show the building to other interested companies.

“Bottom-line is today we have shown the building six times already with companies that might actually bring double the number of jobs that were in that building,” he said. “With being sensitive of the families and the affected employees, it’s important to know we’re not doing this because we’re happy they’re leaving, we’re doing this because we would like to be able to offer jobs.”

Businesses, including Wells Fargo and Defined Fitness, have reached out to SEA to hire some of Sprint’s employees, he said.

The Department of Workforce Solutions has also reached out to the company’s employees to help them find a new job.

In other business, the commission:

  • Approved the consent agenda, including land donations to the county and the transfer of surplus vehicles to other agencies in the county.
  • Heard a report by Elena Kayak, energy and environmental specialist for the Rio Rancho Public Schools Facilities Department, on efforts to reduce food waste in school districts in the county.
  • Voted against a Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation, accepting a request for an Algodones-area restaurant and bar to operate later than 9 p.m.
  • Authorized the county to join a list of 40-plus signatories in support of the Rio Grande Water Fund’s conservation efforts throughout the state.
  • Approved an annual update to the county’s detention center policy and procedures.
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