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T-Mobile adding 125 employees

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The T-Mobile USA Inc. (Nasdaq: TMUS) call center in Airport Plaza is in hiring mode to bring total employment near 1,000 in Springfield.

“We’re planning to hire 125 more T-Mobile employees at our Springfield call center to accommodate the rapid growth of our customer team,” said Charlene Lee, director of business planning for T-Mobile, via email. “We already have the space for them in the building, and we plan to start hiring in early 2019.”

The telecommunications company already employs approximately 850 at the national call center on the northwest side, 2645 N. Airport Plaza.

T-Mobile is making room outside of the building with a parking lot expansion through a land purchase and new real estate lease.

For a 200-space parking lot, Jim and Sylvia Jura in August sold adjacent property for $140,000 to TMC11 Springfield MO LLC, a subsidiary of Gladstone Commercial Corp. (Nasdaq: GOOD). Virginia-based Gladstone is leasing the property to T-Mobile for undisclosed terms, said Buzz Cooper, senior managing director for Gladstone Commercial.

The parking lot is scheduled for completion by mid-November, said Perry Finney, senior asset manager for Gladstone.

Gladstone purchased the 78,000 square-foot call center near the intersection of North West Bypass and West Kearney Street in 2011 for $16 million from an unnamed buyer, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

The company’s portfolio consists of 98 properties in 24 states covering roughly 11.4 million square feet, according to a news release.

Cooper said Gladstone owns a second property in Springfield, a Walgreens at 1955 S. National Ave.

The 4.5-acre parcel sold by the Juras at 3320 W. Farm Road 112 sits northeast of the T-Mobile building, along Interstate 44. The 2018 taxable appraised value of the land is $69,700, according to Greene County assessor records.

“It was a full sale and granted them a small easement to access the property,” said Jura. “They needed more parking capacity.”

T-Mobile officials say the new hires will be part of its Team of Experts program rolled out this summer. Lee said the Springfield staff members primarily handle calls from the four markets.

“In Springfield, our employees are helping customers mainly located in Minneapolis, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City,” said Lee, who works out of T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington, office. “Since each call center supports specific markets, our hiring reflects business realities in those markets. In other words, we’re growing like gangbusters in Minneapolis, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City and need more people here in Springfield to support all of those new customers.”

Jura, the retired CEO of Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., said T-Mobile approached the Airport Plaza property owner’s association about expanding its parking lot several months ago.

“It took a lot longer than we anticipated because of assurances that the city needed,” Jura said from his home in St. Louis.

City Council on July 30 approved the development plan to add parking, said Sarah Kerner, Springfield’s economic development director.

“We engaged the city pretty early to keep everybody on the same page,” said Dane Seiler, president of CJW Transportation Consultants LLC, which designed the parking lot.

Emery, Sapp and Sons Inc. was hired as contractor for the nearly $320,000 job and has been on-site since mid-September, Seiler said.

“They have the concrete down and are hoping to asphalt this week,” he said.

There are still six lots remaining in the 66-acre Airport Plaza, a former peach tree farm that began commercial development in 2003.

“I think it’ll be good for development,” Jura said. “There’s growing economic activity out there with T-Mobile.”

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