Page 47 - BusinessWest December 7, 2020
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turing is one of our Continued from page 9 strengths in this
“This is just one of the ways that we can come
out of this pandemic in a stronger position than when we went into it,” he went on. “We need to be able to move forward where there are opportu- nities that we’ve identified.”
And the growing number of phone calls to the EDC, and the nature of those calls, would seem to indicate some potential opportunities, Sul- livan went on, adding that there have been calls from companies looking for more of a campus- like setting; from manufacturers looking to move operations onshore; from call centers looking for smaller, more affordable facilities; and even from modular-home builders intrigued by the region’s accessibility and highway infrastructure.
Such calls lead to the inevitable questions about whether the region has the ability to actu- ally move forward in the fashion he suggests. Does it have the housing inventory? Does it have an adequate workforce? Does it have communi- ties that would attract businesses and individu- als? Does it have the vibrancy and amenities needed to attract young people?
Plotkin has been answering some of these very questions as he vies to make the property he co- owns, 1350 Main St., home to what’s being called a remote-work hub that would enable people to live and work in the same building, a concept that has become more intriguing as the pandemic has lingered.
As he talked with BusinessWest, Plotkin was preparing to meet with those looking to site such facilities — he believes he has made it to the next round in the process — and state his case. He
said he’s got a solid one, when considering both his building and the three full floors he’s propos- ing for a remote-work hub and this region, but as hewaspreparinghisresponsetotheRFP,hereal- ized that, while the region has a lot to sell, it has to work harder at selling it.
“It’s all about salesmanship and about try-
wouldn’t want to live in Springfield, and also the fear
that their chances of finding the talent they need in Springfield and the surrounding region would be harder; that’s the biggest impediment I’m seeing.”
ing to overcome some of the negativity and the obstacles,” he explained. “It’s trying to overcome a perception that doesn’t reflect what we really have here.”
And one of the more critical perceptions, or misperceptions, in his view, at least, involves workforce and fears that this region cannot support certain types of industries or specific businesses.
“There’s a fear that workers wouldn’t want to live in Springfield,” he explained, “and also the
fear that their chances of finding the talent they need in Springfield and the surrounding region would be harder; that’s the biggest impediment I’m seeing.”
Meanwhile, the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped matters, he said, adding that, before it arrived, the city was enjoying some momentum. But many of its major attractions, from its hockey team to its symphony orchestra to its $1 billion casino, are shut down or operating much differ- ently than before the pandemic.
Taking the long view, though, he said these institutions will return, and they will be part of an attractive package the region can market, a package that seems to make more sense with each passing day living and working during a pandemic.
Bottom Line
Time will obviously tell whether Western Mass., Hawaii, or anywhere else will benefit greatly from the lessons learned from COVID-19 and the trends emerging from this unique time in history.
What is apparent at the moment is that this region seems committed to at least trying to seize what appears to be a clear opportunity to benefit from attitudes about where companies can and should be located, and how they can and should be conducting business.
“Let’s just say I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Creed said.
So is everyone else. u
George O’Brien can be reached at
[email protected]
There’s a fear that workers
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