Blue Cross to Add 24 Stories to HQ Building in Chicago
July 26, 2006
By Dees Stribling, Midwest Correspondent
Chicago-based Health Care Service Corp., which operates health insurance giant Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, plans to expand its current headquarters building in the East Loop district of downtown Chicago from about 1.4 million square feet to 2.2 million square feet. The project is scheduled for completion in 2010, with 24 stories to be added on top of the existing 30 stories at 300 E. Randolph.
The unusual plan still needs approval by the city of Chicago. Considering the eagerness with which the city courts corporate headquarters, however, the prospect of a company that wants to expand its main office in Chicago will probably not be a difficult sell.
"300 E. Randolph was originally designed to be vertically expanded; the only question was when," an HCSC spokesperson told CPN this afternoon. "It makes sense now because our growth means that we've had to relocate core staff in other buildings, and we want them back in the same place."
When the insurance giant moved into the building in 1997, shortly after the structure was completed, it had about 3 million members. Now it has 11 million. "Once the expansion is finished, all of the core functions--executives, finance, legal, tax, IT and so forth--will occupy the original space and part of the new space," the spokesperson said.
The expanded building will accommodate about 8,000 workers, roughly 4,400 of whom will work for HCSC. The company will lease the rest of the new space to other tenants, something it cannot do now.