June 29, 2017

Aetna officially announces its HQ is moving to NYC

Aetna's new corporate headquarters at 61 Ninth Avenue in New York City, which the company will begin to occupy in late 2018.

[June 30, 6 a.m.: This story has been updated to include information about financial incentives]

Hartford health insurer Aetna unveiled one of the worst-kept-secrets in town Thursday: It's moving its corporate headquarters to New York City in late 2018.

The company officially revealed its new headquarters location after more than a year of speculation. It was also considering Boston as a possible destination.

Aetna's new corporate headquarters will be located at 61 Ninth Avenue in New York City, which the company will begin to occupy in late 2018. The insurer said it has already established presence in the city, including operations in Harlem.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill De Blasio said the city offered Aetna a $9.6 million financial package. Meanwhile, the state's economic development arm is providing $24 million in performance-based tax credits over 10 years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said.

"New York City is a knowledge economy hub, and a driver of the innovations that will play a significant part in our ongoing transformation," said Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini. "Many of the roles in our new office will be filled by innovators from the area's deep talent pool, which will be an invaluable resource as we consider additional investments in the city going forward. I thank Gov. Cuomo and his team for their partnership throughout this process, and look forward to working closely with Mayor de Blasio as we build on our role as a responsible corporate citizen."

The move will have minimal impact on Aetna's Connecticut-based employees, the company said. Aetna said it remains committed to its Hartford campus, which employs between 5,000 and 6,000 workers.

However, long term the company warned its commitment to Connecticut will be based on the state's economic health.

"The company remains hopeful that lawmakers will come to an agreement that puts Connecticut on sound financial footing, and that the state will support needed reforms to make Hartford a vibrant city once again," Aetna said in a written statement.

Aetna's HQs relocation decision comes shortly after General Electric decided to move its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston. The two events have created a political maelstrom in Connecticut with business leaders demanding policymakers to improve the state's business climate.

Connecticut, leaders say, is trailing nearby New York City and Boston in the talent wars, putting the state at a disadvantage in recruiting and maintaining employers and workers.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said the state offered Aetna direct incentives to maintain its Hartford headquarters, "up to and including matching anything put on the table from a competing state."

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