Spokane Journal of Business

Call center to open at U-City mall

ICT Group Inc. said leasing 50,000 square feet of space in former Crescent store

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ICT Group Inc., of Langhorne, Pa., is said to be planning a call center in the University City Shopping Center here that will employ 650 people eventually.

The company, a publicly traded customer-service and call-center operation, has leased 50,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the former Crescent (later Lamonts) department store building at U-City, says a real estate industry source.

The call center should open in the next six weeks or so, says the source, who requested anonymity. The property manager at U-City declined public comment.

Its not clear how many people ICT Group will employ when the facility opens, but the company should employ about 650 people at U-City within two to three years, the source says.

An ICT Group spokeswoman says the company is not ready to release information on possible new facilities.

ICT Group operates call centers in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, England, and Australia, according to the companys Web site.

The company provides a range of call-center services, including multilingual handling of both inbound and outbound calls, market research, database management, and customer service and support activities. It has clients in the insurance, financial services, health care, telecommunications, and hospitality industries, among others.

The company was founded in 1983, and went public in 1996. In the first quarter this year, the latest period for which figures are available, ICT Group reported sales of $41 million and net income of $1.21 million.

By turning to nonretail uses, the once dominant U-City follows a trend seen elsewhere in the Spokane Valley: In just the past few months, for example, World Wide Packets Inc. has purchased the former Future Shop store site on Sullivan Road, and Visiontec Inc. has converted a former Rosauers grocery store just east of U-City into a manufacturing facility. In addition, Worthy Enterprises Inc., of Spokane, is turning another former Rosauers Supermarkets Inc. store on East Trent Avenue into office space.

U-City, which was built in phases beginning in 1959 and has about 425,000 square feet of floor space, lost many of its tenants following the opening of the Spokane Valley Mall in 1997. U-City now is largely vacant on the west end, although a Rosauers store, Percys Caf Americana restaurant, and several small retailers occupy space on the east end.

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