Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Effort to Locate Thousands of Workers in Michigan's Urban Centers Creates Hundreds of New M

According to study by Anderson Economic Group, Blues' efforts in Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids are delivering tangible economic benefits

DETROIT, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- By making moves to locate 97 percent of its total workforce within Michigan core cities, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its subsidiary, Accident Fund Holdings, Inc., are delivering significant economic benefit, according to an analysis conducted for BCBSM by Anderson Economic Group.

"We asked Anderson Economic Group to take an objective view of our efforts to construct facilities and consolidate our workers in Michigan's core cities.  This report confirms our belief that making the right decisions for our business also can benefit our local communities in significant ways," said Daniel J. Loepp, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

"As we anticipate the first of our workers arriving at the GM Renaissance Center on May 2, we are very confident that our presence in these downtowns helps these cities and the regions around them become stronger and more competitive in attracting growth," Loepp said.  "The urbanization of our work force is an effort we believe other companies will follow, and we hope this report contributes positively to those decisions."

The analysis covers three major BCBSM enterprise initiatives:

  • The construction of a new national headquarters for Accident Fund Holdings in downtown Lansing; and the subsequent relocation of BCBSM workers from the Lansing suburbs into the former Accident Fund headquarters downtown.
  • The migration of approximately 3,000 BCBSM employees from an office complex in suburban Southfield, Mich., into downtown Detroit's Renaissance Center beginning May 2; and the subsequent sale of the Southfield complex to a private entity.
  • The renovation of the Steketee's department store in downtown Grand Rapids in 2003-2004 into the headquarters of BCBSM's West Michigan operations.

The economic impacts include:

  • More than $200 million in new construction-related spending, new business activity and personal income.
  • 865 new full-time jobs in Wayne County and Southfield.
  • 733 additional Wayne County jobs of one-year duration.
  • 569 new full-time jobs in Lansing.
  • 489 additional Lansing-area jobs of one-year duration.
  • 44 additional Grand Rapids-area jobs of one-year duration.
  • $7.5 million in positive tax impacts for government entities.

BCBSM will begin moving the first of approximately 3,000 workers currently based in Southfield to the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit beginning May 2.  Meanwhile, Accident Fund Holdings recently unveiled its new headquarters in a renovated power plant and newly-constructed annex building along the Grand River in downtown Lansing.  Blue Cross will move approximately 250 Lansing-area employees into Accident Fund's former headquarters a block away from the state Capitol starting later this year. In 2004, the company relocated suburban employees into a completely refurbished department store in downtown Grand Rapids.

Once the moves are complete, the Blues and Accident Fund will have 97 percent of their workers in the Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids regions in the respective downtown business districts, compared to 49 percent before the moves. BCBSM's workforce in downtown Detroit alone will be approximately 6,000 strong.

All totaled, the Blues and Accident Fund will have moved workers from nine suburban and urban locations to five urban work sites, investing significantly in constructing and renovating the new sites.

The study by Anderson Economic Group analyzed quantitative economic measures such as renovation and construction jobs and income and direct employment, earnings and tax revenue from the Blues and Accident Fund. It also factored in less tangible measures of signaling, cultural and place-making effects of having a large, stable employer located in these cities' downtowns.

The study says the moves strengthen the economies of the three cities through spin-off development, diversifying the employment base, attracting more knowledge-economy workers and developing a stronger future regional workforce by creating a cluster of new-economy businesses. Other benefits cited by the study include an uptick in innovation and entrepreneurship, increased investment in infrastructure and cultural attractions, and strengthening investors' confidence in downtown commercial property markets, the report said.

"I am especially excited about the rejuvenation of the historic Ottawa Street Power Station in downtown Lansing, which I consider to be the second prettiest building in our capital city," said Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO of Anderson Economic Group. "We estimate the investment by Blue Cross in Lansing alone will bring in $3.3 million in new tax revenue to local governments."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to nearly 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. 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.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

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