Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Buffalo, N.Y. — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York today announced plans to re-locate its local, 1,400-member workforce to Seneca One Tower in the Spring of 2024.
The move is part of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s efforts to re-calibrate its office space, with room to grow its hybrid workforce, and continue its long-standing commitment to the City of Buffalo. The move re-commits the company to the central business district by re-locating its workforce closer to downtown small businesses, including restaurants, coffee shops and pharmacies.
“Moving to a more adaptive office space in Seneca One is the best way to support our team members, so they can support our customers,” said Dr. Michael Edbauer, President, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. “As part of our commitment to the community, it is important that we remain in the City of Buffalo, with amenities that will attract and help retain our nearly 1,400 local team members to the downtown core.”
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has been headquartered in Buffalo since it was founded in 1936. It previously occupied offices at 374 Delaware Ave. (1936-1942), 888 Delaware Ave (1942-1950), 298 Main St. (1950-1987), 1901 Main St. (1988-2007) before its current location at 257 West Genesee St. opened as part of a Brownfield Cleanup project in 2007.
While Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield was instrumental in the 2007 cleanup project, it does not own the building at its current location. The company is occupying significantly less space than what it’s leasing at 257 West Genesee St., locking up valuable downtown office space. Like many other employers, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s move to a hybrid work model added to the office vacancy it had experienced prior to the pandemic.
In advance of its lease expiration in the Summer of 2024, the health plan’s leadership and local board of directors evaluated numerous opportunities within the downtown market and surrounding areas, including a significant reduction of the current space at 257 West Genesee St., before selecting Seneca One Tower.
Seneca One Tower is Buffalo’s tallest building and is home to more than 2,000 workers representing a hub of cutting edge and minority-led companies. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield plans to occupy floors 34 through 38 of the Seneca Tower with room for the company to grow as business needs dictate.
“This move helps us continue to contribute to building the city’s economic and cultural resurgence, and we are excited to work alongside likewise community-focused and influential organizations like M&T Bank, 43 North, Odoo and Serendipity Labs,” added Edbauer. “We are not ‘downsizing,’ but adapting to the new post-COVID workplace realities.”
The move will also allow the health plan to reduce administrative expenses and operate more efficiently on behalf of the customers it serves.
In addition to remaining in downtown Buffalo, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield continues to invest across Western New York. The company invested $7.2 million in 2022 to address racial and health inequities, workforce development and to improve the health and economic resilience of the community it serves.
The move brings the health plan closer to some of its major community investments and relationships in the city’s “Knowledge Corridor.”
As one of the region’s largest tech employers, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield funds several initiatives to build the talent pipeline. In 2022, it partnered with M&T Bank and others on a Data Analytics Bootcamp for traditionally underrepresented groups in technology. The program brought 19 Western New Yorkers to the Tech Hub for training and guided them into the local workforce. The health plan also provided $500,000 to help recruit Bitwise Industries, a national organization that trains tech workers from underserved communities.
The company sponsors year-round health activities and events in Seneca One’s nearby neighborhood including at Canalside where they support free fitness classes, ice skating and bike rentals.
About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is a trade name of Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Since 1936, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York has helped millions of people lead healthier lives. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield offers a full range of insured, self-insured, and government programs and services covering businesses, families, and individuals, as well as dental and vision plans and stop-loss coverage. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employs nearly 1,400 people and serves as a key economic driver in the region. As a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield contributes significantly to organizations that strengthen and enrich the health of the community.
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