The news hit the streets fast when Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced it will move from its home of 34 years in downtown Syracuse to the former Agway Inc. headquarters in DeWitt. But the decision didn't come quickly. After five years of study, the company finally decided DeWitt has exactly what it needs.
"The planned move of 850 employees to the former Agway building in DeWitt will result in more value to Excellus BCBS customers and employees through operating efficiencies," said Elizabeth Martin, regional vice president of communications for Excellus.
The insurance company expects to realize savings of several million dollars by relocating to the Butternut Drive building rather than remodeling its existing site at 344 S. Warren St.
Furthermore, Martin listed a variety of reasons the decision rested with the DeWitt site. It offers:
An opportunity to configure office space to its business specifications (the new building will require one-third less space than Warren Street);
Free, on-site parking for employees with room for 800 cars and expansion;
Immediate availability and flexibility to accommodate a single move, rather than renovating the Warren Street building and disrupting employees' work over an extended time;
More on-site meeting and training space; and
Convenient access to public transportation, shopping and restaurants at neighboring ShoppingTown Mall.
As for increased traffic in the area, Martin said the company plans to work with building owner Vaughn Lang and the town for solutions.
"The property was designed to handle the quantity of staff we are moving," she said.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Dick Robb said Agway has been an office building since 1964 -- no zoning updates were necessary to accommodate DeWitt's business gain.
DeWitt Town Supervisor Jim DiStefano said although he is happy Excellus chose DeWitt, he would have been happy to see them move to any local area just the same.