Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has a secondary mission of sorts. The state’s largest health insurer continues to offer health care coverage for everyone regardless of circumstances, but they also are working to help strengthen the urban core of Michigan’s major cities. Today’s announcement that BCBSM is relocating 3,000 employees to Detroit’s Renaissance Center is a big step forward in strengthening the city’s central business district.
When the move concludes in 2011, approximately 6,000 BCBSM employees will be working in Detroit. Mayor Dave Bing acknowledged that this commitment to the city, when combined with similar commitments by Quicken Loans, GalaxE. Solutions and Strategic Staffing Solutions sends the right messages to other businesses considering moving to Detroit.
It is also an important commitment because the iconic Renaissance Center will be 90% occupied once the move is complete, where it wasn’t that long ago there was the possibility that the 5.5 million square foot structure (2.2 million of which is offices) would be standing vacant. That had Ed Whitacre, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, issuing a hearty welcome to their newest neighbors while reiterating GM’s commitment to the city.
“GM believes in Detroit. We need great American cities like Detroit to thrive,” he stated.
Most of the employees moving currently work at the Blue Cross office park in Southfield, which is slated to be sold, putting that building back on the City of Southfields’ tax rolls. However, BCBSM will continue to house their Blue Care Network of Michigan in Southfield and their disaster recovery center in New Hudson, which means Oakland County will still keep 1,400 jobs.
One of the points stressed by Daniel J. Loepp, President and CEO of Blue Cross is the opportunity this move gives his company to strengthen their corporate culture. To help unite the two downtown corporate campuses, the company negotiated to have free passes for the People Mover available to all downtown BCBSM employees during the first year of the move.
We covered the event live, so see our on-site Twitter stream at http://www.twitter.com/detroitunspun