400 CareFirst workers to relocate

Most to leave downtown for Canton Crossing

April 12, 2006|By LORRAINE MIRABELLA | LORRAINE MIRABELLA,SUN REPORTER

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield plans to relocate about 350 employees from Baltimore's downtown to the Canton Crossing development in Canton, with another 50 workers to move from the health insurer's Owings Mills location, company officials said yesterday.

The insurer, now at 100 S. Charles St., had considered locations elsewhere in the city as well as in several surrounding counties. The company plans to move before fall of 2007, when the lease at the South Charles street building expires, said Jeffrey W. Valentine, a company spokesman.

CareFirst will move into three floors of the 17-story 1st Mariner Tower at Canton Crossing, on the Inner Harbor's eastern fringe.

The tower, scheduled to be completed in June, is the centerpiece of the waterfront development, which is slated to encompass $1 billion worth of new offices, restaurants, luxury condominiums and a hotel.

The 10-year deal with CareFirst for 90,0000 square feet of space shows the strength of the office market in Canton as well as the neighborhood's ability to attract top corporations, said Edwin F. Hale, president of Hale Properties LLC, developer of Canton Crossing. Tenants have been attracted by the building's free parking, water views and amenities such as nearby restaurants, he said.

Thomson Prometric, a subsidiary of the Thomson Corp., will be moving its Baltimore headquarters and 400 employees to the tower this year from Harbor East, taking four floors. 1st Mariner Bank, of which Hale is chairman and chief executive officer, will occupy 2 1/2 floors for its headquarters.

With the addition of CareFirst, the 1st Mariner Tower at 1501 Clinton St. will be 80 percent leased and serve as office space for about 3,500 workers, Hale said.

Hale Properties has begun construction of the second office tower but plans to wait until signing deals with tenants before proceeding. Hale said he expects that tower to be completed by the second quarter of 2008.

Valentine said CareFirst worked with real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle to find office space, looking in the city and counties.

At Canton Crossing, "We were impressed by a number of things, the convenient access to [Interstate 95] and downtown, the state-of-the-art security and free on-site parking for our associates," he said.

CareFirst's 350 downtown employees work in the insurer's medical management area, including nurses and other medical professionals. Employees currently working on Red Run Boulevard in Owings Mills, who will move by early fall 2007, work for its NCAS subsidiary, Valentine said.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.