Albuquerque Journal
By ABQJournal News Staff
PUBLISHED: Feb 10, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — T-Mobile is in negotiations to take over the Rio Rancho call center closed earlier this month by rival Sprint, according to a broker involved in the talks.

“T-Mobile is looking at an opportunity to help the community and the displaced Sprint employees,” said Dave Hill of NAI Maestas & Ward. “It’s a great real estate play and a great opportunity for the community.”

Hill said T-Mobile was “actively engaged” in talks with the owner of the property. He described the negotiations as being in the early stages.

T-Mobile would also use the space for a call center, but it wasn’t clear Wednesday how many employees might be part of the operation.

The company already operates two other call centers in the Albuquerque area.

Tim With of Colliers, who is representing landlord CALL LLC, a real estate investment trust, could not comment specifically on any negotiations underway with T-Mobile.

However, he said he was entertaining interest from “multiple parties” — mostly out-of-state users — interested in leasing the space. The interest is primarily from companies operating support centers, With said.

He said economic development entities from the cities of Rio Rancho, Albuquerque and the Sandoval Economic Alliance have also been helping to promote the property and have been on tours with potential tenants.

“We have some good prospects,” Jami Grindatto, president and CEO of the Sandoval Economic Alliance, said about working to attract a new employer at the site. “It’s very important to create new jobs” in the wake of Sprint’s closure.

Sprint announced last month that it was closing the center on Feb. 5, saying the move was part of a “multiyear turnaround strategy” for the company that involved eliminating up to $2.5 billion in costs. Nearly 400 employees were working at the Rio Rancho call center when the closure was announced.

The Rio Rancho customer service center opened in Enchanted Hills in 1998.

Its arrival was part of a call center boom in the City of Vision. The late 1990s also brought Victoria’s Secret, Gateway 2000 and NationsBank to a community that also had a J.C. Penney center. Sprint’s call center at one point had grown to about 1,400 employees.

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