Lansing-area Blues employees to move into downtown offices this week
Move to former Accident Fund headquarters part of comprehensive effort to boost economies of Michigan's core cities
September 9, 2011
LANSING — About 300 employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network begin moving into their new office building in downtown Lansing this week, marking the latest in a series of major projects undertaken by the Blues over the past decade in support of the state's core cities.
Approximately 300 Blues employees are moving into the Capitol Avenue Building, the former headquarters of Blues subsidiary Accident Fund Holdings Inc. at 232 South Capitol Avenue. They will move from an office in suburban Delta Township and a smaller one near the Capitol Building. The new centralized location has undergone major renovations in advance of their arrival and will house customer service operations for mid-Michigan Blues customers.
“Centralizing our Lansing-area employees downtown underscores our commitment to Michigan's capital city by continuing the positive momentum already established here and adding measurably to Lansing's economic vitality,” BCBSM President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel J. Loepp said. “Along with Accident Fund, the presence of our employees will give a boost to downtown business owners and strengthen investors' confidence that revitalization is at hand.”
Accident Fund, a workers compensation insurer, earlier this year moved its headquarters a few blocks away to the former Ottawa Street Power Station, a former brownfield site which itself saw extensive renovations after nearly two decades sitting abandoned. The move to South Capitol Avenue, just a block away from the State Capitol, comes as Blue Cross moves 3,000 employees to downtown Detroit from the suburbs, and also seven years after the company redeveloped the former Steketee's department store in downtown Grand Rapids as office space for its West Michigan operations.
“The move downtown makes solid business sense by dramatically reducing the amount of unused square feet under our management,” said Tricia Keith, vice president, corporate secretary and services at BCBSM. “But it also presents a great opportunity for us to better integrate with the community, serve as an anchor to Lansing's central business district and provide top-notch service to our Lansing area customers.”
A recent study prepared for BCBSM by the Anderson Economic Group found that these core-cities initiatives are creating significant economic benefits to each of the three cities. It is estimated that the moves by Blue Cross and Accident Fund are creating nearly 1,000 new full-time and one-year duration jobs and $3.3 million in new tax revenue in Lansing alone through renovation and construction jobs, direct employment and less tangible spin-off impacts.
Some employees will begin moving to the new offices Thursday, with all the relocation expected to wrap up by Monday, Sept. 12. Renovation work to the building was completed in August.
Auto Owners Insurance Co. will take possession of the former Blue Cross office building located at 1405 Creyts Road in Delta Township and has already announced redevelopment plans for the property. The Blues leased the property from Auto Owners as part of their 2009 purchase agreement. BCBSM's Ionia Street office in Lansing is currently on the market for sale.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.3 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including Community Blue, Simply Blue and Healthy Blue Incentives PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living; Flexible Blue plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans; and MyBlue products in the under-age-65 individual market. BCBSM also offers dental, vision and hearing plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.