September 9, 2010 | last updated May 29, 2012 10:03 pm

Aetna to demolish Middletown site

Hartford managed care provider Aetna Inc. says it will demolish the hulking main building at its former Middletown complex within 12 months to make way for new development at the 200-acre site.

Aetna plans to solicit bids to raze the gleaming white 1.2 million-square-foot hilltop glass-and-concrete structure at 100 Middle St. that housed its operations from 1983 until last March, when the last of its staff vacated the property.

Aetna moved several hundred employees from Middletown to its expanded midtown Hartford headquarters-operations center on Farmington Avenue, while others now telecommute to work.

In July, Fairfield-based commercial lender GE Capital restored the property's title to Aetna as called for under terms of a mid-1980s "sale-leaseback'' transaction on the property, an Aetna spokesman said.

"We determined the current market is not favorable to selling the property as is,'' Aetna spokesman Fred LaBerge said Thursday.

Aetna has no plans as yet to sell the acreage once the building is leveled, LaBerge said. Aetna has 200 information technology staffers housed at a separate building on the grounds.

He added that the insurer is in talks with state, Middletown and Middlesex County officials about the development potential for the site. He did not elaborate.

Recycling will be a major component of the demolition, the spokesman said. Already, furniture from the building has been donated to area nonprofits and municipal agencies, along with 800,000 square feet of indoor carpeting handed off to a recycler.

Aetna also intends to recycle the building's steel, glass, stone and concrete, LaBerge said.

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