Thing 5 Moves to Downtown Springfield, Plans to Hire up to 500 Employees

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Photo Mark M. Murray / The RepublicanMario F. Torchia, vice-president of U.S. operations for Thing5 announces that their company will be coming to the One Financial Center building along with 500 jobs during a press conference Thursday afternoon. Looking on are Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Carol Guerra also from Thing5

Peter Goonan, The Republican:

SPRINGFIELD – Thing5 LLC, a telecommunications company that provides call center services in the hospitality field, has opened a new, expanded location at the One Financial Plaza building in downtown Springfield and plans to create up to 500 jobs.

City officials including Mayor Domenic J. Sarno gathered with representatives of Thing5, the building management, tenants and business leaders to announce the plan, saying it will help create greatly needed jobs while setting the stage for a more vibrant downtown.

“Up to 500 jobs coming to downtown Springfield is a major economic catalyst for our downtown,” Sarno said.

Mario F. Torchia, vice president of U.S. operations for Thing5, said the company has begun hiring and will fill the jobs in the next six to nine months. The company also has approximately 50 jobs in an office at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and in Longmeadow.

United Personnel Services, also located in the downtown, is handling recruiting and staffing.

Torchia said the company had expansion needs and wanted to stay in Springfield.

The full-time jobs are being filled by area applicants. The jobs are mostly entry level call center positions, including bilingual roles, with a salary range of $10 to $14 per hour, and some management positions, Torchia said.

Evan C. Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin and also a partner in the building ownership, said Thing5 is the third new tenant in the past year in the building at 1350 Main St., which also houses a Sovereign Bank branch and offices.

“It was really the whole city that came together to make this happen,” Plotkin said, praising the mayor, Springfield Parking Authority, and Planning and Economic Development officials for their efforts. “I think this is the tipping point for the city of Springfield.”

The expansion plans for Thing5 were discussed with building management and city officials for three or four months, including arrangements for parking with the Springfield Parking Authority, Plotkin said.

Kevin Kennedy, the city’s new chief development officer, and City Councilor Timothy J. Rooke were among city officials at the press conference who praised the new development.

“There is more to come,” Kennedy said. “We should be excited.”

The downtown district is also benefiting from the announcement in October that Cambridge College is moving soon from Cottage Street to Tower Square on Main Street, officials said. In addition, GZA Environmental moved to One Financial Plaza a year ago, and Boston Medical is also a newer tenant.

Rooke’s work office at Chase, Clarke Stewart & Fontana Insurance Co., is a block away. The development shows the mayor is working hard with the private sector to attract new economic development opportunities, he said.

Thing5 started in the Technology Park on Federal Street in 2004. Thing5, in addition to its Springfield and Longmeadow locations, also has satellite offices in Illinois, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire and Canada, officials said.

David Thor, managing director of Thing5, in a prepared statement, said the downtown location “affords employees conveniences that stand-alone buildings or suburban offices do not offer such as the ability to walk to restaurants and shops as well as public transportation.”

Sarno and Kennedy said the added employees downtown is a crucial ingredient to a vibrant downtown. They said the School Department’s use of the old federal courthouse on Main Street and the addition of a Baystate Medical office there has also benefited the downtown.