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On the Market: BlueCross Headquarters

HealthNow New York Inc., the Buffalo-based parent company of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, confirmed that the owner of its headquarters building has offered it for sale, but emphasized that the insurer’s operations will continue unaffected.  The building is located on West Genesee Street behind City Hall. 

Duke Realty Corp. of Indianapolis, which built the $110 million complex that opened in September 2007, always planned to sell the building and lists BlueCross BlueShield’s long-term lease as one of its primary assets. That means none of the insurer’s operations will move, including the 1,300 employees who work in the complex, said Karen Merkel-Liberatore, the company’s spokeswoman.

DSC_0605.JPG“This is a simple and expected real estate transaction,” Merkel-Liberatore said. “It is a sale of the building, as Duke planned from the beginning. It has no impact on BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York as an organization. We are not moving. We love it here.”

The L-shaped 469,000 sq.ft. complex features two office towers connected with a seven-story atrium.  The complex has an adjacent 1500 space parking ramp and retained the Romanesque Revival stone facade of the circa-1859 Buffalo Gas Light Co. Works building on the site.  BlueCross BlueShield’s 17-year lease began in 2007 and contains renewal options. 

The building also contains property manager CB Richard Ellis’ Buffalo office. That management relationship also is expected to continue. 

Duke, a real estate investment trust or REIT, believes the timing is advantageous for putting the building on the market.  Duke is one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the United States with 135 million square feet of industrial and office, including medical office, properties in more than 20 cities.  The company was selected to lead the project by BlueCross over competing bids by Uniland and Ciminelli Development.  At the building’s groundbreaking in 2005, the company’s president expressed optimism the project would lead to future work in the region.  It hasn’t happened.

Duke hopes to complete the sale this year.  The property is being marketed to private equity firms, other REITs, foreign investors and wealthy individuals.  A listing price has not yet been set.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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