Aetna, one of the country's biggest health insurers, announced that it's relocating its corporate headquarters from its longtime home in Hartford, Connecticut to New York City. Chelsea, to be exact. 250 jobs will shift to NYC, but Aetna stressed that 6,000 employees will remain in Connecticut.
"New York City is a knowledge economy hub, and a driver of the innovations that will play a significant part in our ongoing transformation," said Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini in a statement. "Many of the roles in our new office will be filled by innovators from the area’s deep talent pool, which will be an invaluable resource as we consider additional investments in the city going forward."
Aetna was founded in Hartford 164 years ago. However, the company recently cited a desire for "access to innovation and talent that will fill knowledge economy-type positions." In other words, Hartford and other points in Connecticut aren't attractive to "young professionals lured by the pull of larger and more dynamic cities."
Also, Bertolini has a home in NYC.
Connecticut is in the throes of a fiscal crisis, and Aetna's departure rubs more salt in the wound. Governor Dannel Malloy pleaded to Bertolini in May, "As a huge Connecticut employer and a pillar of the insurance industry, it must be infuriating to feel like you must fight your home state policymakers who seem blind to the future while you diligently lead Aetna's transportation from a fee for service health insurer to a value based health care leader. The lack of respect afforded Aetna as an important and innovative economic engine of Connecticut bewilders me. Please know I respect and value Aetna."
Aetna's Hartford headquarters (Wikipedia)
Aetna will be moving its headquarters to a brand new building at 61 Ninth Avenue, designed by Rafael Vinoly, next to the Apple Store, in 2018. According to Vornado, "The building design takes advantage of these views by providing unique floor layouts with multiple private terraces for each tenant. These pocket parks are propagated throughout the building, providing unique terrace spaces, and transforming the typical office, conference room, and breakout space into an integrated indoor-outdoor environment."
Governor Andrew Cuomo dunked on Connecticut in a statement, saying, "Aetna's decision to call New York home is another testament to the Empire State’s extraordinary economic momentum. New York has a deep, diverse talent pool and pro-growth environment that businesses need to succeed, and today more companies are choosing New York to grow and diversify their business."
Cuomo's office elaborated that New York lured Aetna to relocate here, after the Empire State Development "offered the company $24 million in performance-based tax credits delivered over 10 years. Over the next five years, Aetna will add 250 senior positions to the new headquarters at 61 Ninth Avenue in Chelsea and invest $84 million to fit out and equip the 145,000 square foot facility. Prior to their decision to relocate to New York, Aetna considered a number of other cities."
And Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said Aetna received a "$9.6 million financial assistance package from the New York City Economic Development Corporation" that includes "$4.25 million in sales tax benefits to offset sales tax liabilities resulting from Aetna’s capital investment; New York City Industrial Development Agency property tax benefits valued at $3.8 million over 10 years, to reduce the property tax liability resulting from capital expenditures; enhanced sales tax benefits and Business Incentive Rate discount valued at $1.5 million over 10 years."
A press release from Aetna sought to quell economic fears in Connecticut, insisting, "The move will have minimal impact on Aetna's Connecticut-based associates. The company remains committed to its Hartford campus and the thousands of associates based there, in addition to other established locations throughout the country and around the globe. Several of Aetna’s key businesses will remain primarily based in Hartford, and the Consumer Health & Services team will continue to operate out of Wellesley, Massachusetts."