Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has announced they will move approximately 3,000 employees from Southfield, Mich., to Detroit’s Renaissance Center beginning in 2011.
The company says the move will reduce their long-term real estate costs, streamline operations, improve corporate culture and positively impact their Michigan legacy.
The agreement finalized by BCBSM, General Motors Corporation, the City of Detroit, Wayne County, and others will relocate workers into 435,245 square feet of space in Towers 500 and 600 of the iconic Detroit landmark.
It is estimated the phased move will save BCBSM more than $30 million in long-term real estate costs. The move will increase BCBSM’s downtown Detroit workforce to about 6,000 people.
BCBSM will retain its current Detroit offices located at 500 and 600 East Lafayette Avenue and 441 East Jefferson Ave., creating a campus extending from the Detroit Riverfront to Lafayette Ave.
BCBSM will become one of Detroit’s largest downtown employers.
“Creating a single campus for our southeast Michigan workforce will dramatically improve our corporate culture by bringing our people closer together to accomplish our shared goals,” said Daniel J. Loepp, BCBSM president and CEO.
“It will also significantly improve our operational flexibility, which is necessary as we continue to respond to national health care reform.”
The 3,000 additional workers will provide a significant boost to the downtown Detroit economy and to the Renaissance Center, filling formerly vacant space and helping the landmark facility in the long-term.
With this move, the Renaissance Center will move to an occupancy rate estimated above 90 percent for the first time in many years.
During the announcement, which took place on Thursday, July 29, Loepp thanked Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre and their teams, for their leadership in this public-private partnership.
He also shared that employees will contribute to decisions involving the project and the acclimation process.
Even with the transition of these workers from Southfield to Detroit, BCBSM will remain among the top employers in Oakland County. The corporate headquarters of Blue Care Network, BCBSM’s HMO subsidiary, will remain in Southfield.
BCBSM also will invest in improving its facility in New Hudson. That facility is used for meetings and employee education, and serves as the enterprise’s disaster recovery center. More than 1,200 full-time and contractual employees work at both locations.
BCBSM plans to sell its four-building campus on 11 Mile Road in Southfield to a private firm. A sale would make the property taxable by local governments. The tax value is estimated at $1.8 million to $2.2 million.
“Michigan is home for Blue Cross,” according to Dan Loepp.
“This investment in Detroit’s urban center enables the Blues to begin a new chapter for a company with deep roots in Michigan’s story, and in a city with even deeper roots in the American experience.”
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