DETROIT, May 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The first group of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees reports to work today at their new offices in the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. The company will steadily relocate about 3,000 of its employees from a suburban office complex to join nearly 3,000 more already in Detroit on a unified campus extending from the Detroit River to the company's headquarters two blocks north on Lafayette Boulevard.
With approximately 6,000 employees working in downtown Detroit after the moves are complete in 2012, BCBSM will become the largest private employer in the city's central business district.
"Blue Cross has made downtown Detroit its home for 72 years, and by increasing our commitment here, we're telling the world that Detroit is open for business," said Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of BCBSM. "The addition of about 3,000 new workers to Detroit's central business district in 2011 and 2012 will deliver a powerful spark to the local economy and help pave the way for increased investment in the region from established businesses, startups, developers and residents."
In addition to helping re-energize Detroit's central business district, the move of workers from offices in Southfield, Mich. offers significant operational benefits for the Blues. It eliminates the redundancies of operating two separate campuses and reduces the company's real estate footprint by 435,000 square feet.
All told, the move is expected to create between $30 million and $40 million in real estate cost savings for BCBSM, increase the RenCen's occupancy rate to 92 percent and reduce the amount of vacant Class A office space in the central business district by 6 percent.
The initiative is the latest in a series of efforts by BCBSM and its subsidiaries to consolidate workers and invest in Michigan's core cities. A recent study prepared for BCBSM by Anderson Economic Group found that BCBSM initiatives in the downtown cores of Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids are creating hundreds of new jobs and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact. The report identified 865 new full-time jobs in Wayne County and Southfield and 733 additional jobs of one-year duration in Wayne County related to the move to the RenCen, many related to construction and renovation.
The Blues will continue to be a major employer in Oakland County. Blue Care Network, the HMO subsidiary of BCBSM, will remain headquartered in Southfield. Combined with the Blues' facility in South Lyon, the Blues will have 1,400 employees in Oakland County. The South Lyon facility will continue to play a key role for the company and will be updated into a premier conference center and flexible mobile work space.
In addition, BCBSM's current property on 11 Mile Road in Southfield will revert to the municipal tax rolls. As a nonprofit insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is exempt from property tax. The Blues are working with interested parties and brokers to find a new owner for the Southfield property.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan