In a move that heralds the changing nature of Sprint’s relationship with the region, the telecom giant has announced its plans to sell its Overland Park campus and lease only the space the company needs.
Sprint’s CEO, Michel Combes, announced the plans in an email to company members and key executives from around the region, layout out the reasons for the move and reemphasizing Sprint’s commitment to Kansas City amidst both the pending sale of the headquarters and merger with T-Mobile.
In the days since that announcement, commercial realty executive have been trying to assess what such a move might mean for both the region and for the office-space market. Complicating that task is the uncertainty over how much of the campus could be sold and how much square footage–yet unknown–could end up on the office market.
Lisa Belot, corporate communications manager for Sprint, said selling the headquarters would not affect the number of Sprint jobs in Kansas City. Rather than cutting numbers to compact employees into fewer buildings, she said, Sprint is just looking to renovate a few buildings and combine existing employees into a central location to create a more efficient and collaborative community.
“The renovation project is starting in building 6200 on the first and second floor, but that’s just the first phase,” Belot said. “Eventually we will consolidate all employees into multiple buildings, and 6200 will just be the heart of that new area. Right now, we have employees scattered in buildings all across campus. The idea is to bring everyone down into a handful of buildings, and overtime we will refresh all of those spaces.”
Combes’ letter announcing the planned sale:
I am fully committed to investing in you and helping you perform at your best.
As I told you during the #WhySprintNow Road Show, you deserve a great place to work and to feel proud inviting friends and family to join Sprint. That’s why we recently refreshed about 60 percent of our stores nationwide and updated more than 20 offices.
Today I want to talk about our exciting plans to refresh the Overland Park campus. I am thrilled to share we are proceeding with the next phase of our project!
To remind you, we have made several changes during the past couple of years of our transformation to bring partners and teams closer together. But we still have some empty buildings and partners scattered across multiple buildings on campus.
So, it is time to regroup everyone into one central area and create modern and inviting spaces where partners can enjoy spending time collaborating.
We have selected building 6200 as the renewed heart of our campus, and it is going to be amazing – I know you will love it! For starters, we will renovate two floors in that building.
When the renovations in 6200 are complete in January, there will be a large community area for all partners to gather, socialize and work throughout the day. Senior leaders and their teams will be more accessible, helping to drive better engagement and deeper collaboration across the company.
Plus, we will designate a separate innovation hub to attract startups and top talent.
We are in the process of finalizing agreements with design and construction vendors and will share more with you in the coming weeks.
We expect the full project to take a couple of years, but I wanted you to be the first to hear about it. I am eager for construction to begin next month!
I see this as the next evolution of our efforts to make Sprint an even greater place to work, so I have asked Deeanne King, our new chief human resources officer, to lead the project.
Think of the most well-respected companies across the country – including Apple, Google and Amazon – that have invested in their headquarters and their people. They demand a lot out of their employees, who in turn can take advantage of inspiring surroundings where they feed off each other’s energy.
At Sprint, we have explored several options with our campus during the past few years, and the press has covered it extensively. Our teams have changed buildings. We have leased buildings. And we have announced our intention to sell unused buildings or those leased to tenants.
Another option is to sell the campus and lease back only the buildings we need. This would enable us to use the proceeds from the sale to reinvest in the buildings we plan to use. And to focus on what really matters – our customers and our people.
We are currently evaluating potential buyers and will fill you in as we know more. Like all decisions we make, the best interests of our customers, shareholders and partners will guide us. I strongly believe investing in a dynamic campus for our people will deliver a strong return on investment.
Above all else, we are committed to Kansas City. Whether we own the campus or not. And whether we merge with T-Mobile or not.
We have some awesome updates ahead that will help us work differently, operate more efficiently, and keep and attract the best talent.
Thank you for your incredible pride in Sprint and our hometown headquarters. We have many more wonderful things to look forward to as a team.