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Springfield T-Mobile employees will continue to work out of the 2645 N. Airport Plaza call center.
Springfield T-Mobile employees will continue to work out of the 2645 N. Airport Plaza call center.

T-Mobile call center sells for $16M

Posted online
McLean, Va.-based real estate investment trust Gladstone Commercial (Nasdaq: GOOD) has purchased the 78,000-square-foot T-Mobile Customer Service Center in north Springfield for nearly $16 million.

Listing agent Craig Tomlinson, director of Tulsa-based commercial brokerage firm Stan Johnson Co., said the property was on the market for about six months before it closed June 20.

He said about 10 companies and individual investors had considered the T-Mobile building, 2645 N. Airport Plaza, before Gladstone Commercial secured the deal.

“We had a formal arrangement with (the sellers) and they wanted us to take on a rather broad effort, but even at that, those efforts are targeted toward larger, known and capable entities like the public groups and large partnerships,” Tomlinson said. “It’s not the kind of property that you stick a sign out on.”

Tomlinson, who represented both the buyer and the seller, declined to disclose the name of the seller in the 16.5-acre transaction and said the group declined to comment on the sale.

According to Greene County assessor records, TMC II Springfield MO LLC owned the T-Mobile building on 10 acres fronting Interstate 44 at Airport Plaza. The property holds a 2011 appraised value of $3.7 million.

Airport Plaza Development Group LLC is listed as owner of an adjacent 6.6 vacant acres valued at $69,700, according to the assessor’s office.

Tomlinson declined to provide financial details of T-Mobile’s lease agreement, but the term of the lease is in excess of 10 years from the closing date.

He said the sale of the building was complicated by the March announcement that AT&T was planning to buy T-Mobile in a cash-and-stock trade valued at $39 billion.

National industry experts are split as to whether the deal, which is still under consideration by the Department of Justice, would be approved.

Chamber research
Tomlinson said Gladstone Commercial officials had concerns about the merger and worked to learn more about how T-Mobile’s Springfield center fit into its larger operations.

Through its own research and discussions with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the company became satisfied that benefits of owning the building outweighed any potential risks, he said.

Ryan Mooney, senior vice president of business development for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, said he assisted Tomlinson with market data on the sale before answering the buyer’s questions about the stability of T-Mobile’s operations in Springfield.

“I don’t know that we could provide any concrete assurances – nobody knows at this point,” Mooney said. “But we were able to provide some facts and some information that we had. We have a very good relationship with T-Mobile and are in regular contact with them regarding their operations and what we, as a community, are able to do to help their operation continue to be the best it can be.”

Mooney said there had been concerns expressed about the T-Mobile center’s proximity to AT&T’s $19 million Joplin call center, which was built in 2007.

However, he feels Springfield T-Mobile’s focus on business-to-business services would insulate it from any job losses or operational changes that might take place in the wake of a merger.

The T-Mobile center employs some 760 workers and has pledged to hire 300 more this year.

No changes
Mark Conrad, director of Springfield’s T-Mobile call center, said the company has no plans to change its operations due to the sale of the building, and it is far too soon to speculate on what could happen if the merger is approved.

“Everything is in the hands of the Department of Justice now as far as the merger is concerned, so it’s really anybody’s guess. We certainly don’t feel that we are at risk here. We’re still looking ahead and planning the things that we were planning on because we just don’t know about the merger,” Conrad said.  

Tomlinson said the interest in the property is indicative of current market conditions, noting demand for large commercial building with long-term tenants is high and the supply is relatively low.

“These (properties) are bought by groups that value the stability and predictability of the income, which is the rent on the property,” Tomlinson said.

Gladstone Commercial owns net-leased industrial, commercial, medical and other types of real estate properties across the country. Tomlinson said Gladstone Commercial assumed the loan the seller had in place.

Calls to Gladstone Commercial were not returned as of press time.

According to www.gladstonecommercial.com, the company specializes in buying property already leased to “good tenants” or purchases real estate owned by businesses looking to release equity in order to lease it back to them.[[In-content Ad]]

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