Aetna to move corporate headquarters to New York City

In June 29, 2017

By Sally Goldenberg and Gloria Pazmino
Politico New York

Health insurance giant Aetna will move its headquarters to Chelsea, Manhattan from Hartford, Conn., the company announced Thursday.

The firm will begin setting up shop at a 145,000-square-foot facility across the street from Chelsea Market, at 61 Ninth Ave., next year. The vacant site is currently a construction zone.

The new building will not be Aetna’s first location in the city — the company already has offices in Harlem.

“New York City is a knowledge economy hub, and a driver of the innovations that will play a significant part in our ongoing transformation,” Aetna chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement. “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.”

The city and state are providing Aetna a combined $34 million in tax breaks for the move, and the state’s economic development agency will invest $84 million to fit out the facility, according to a press release from the state.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the company will bring 250 “good paying jobs” and $146 million in economic growth to the city.

“New York City is where talent and technology come together,” he said in a release.

The competition between cities vying for Aetna’s presence was intense, Bertolini told the New York Times, but in the end, the decision came down to jobs.

New York City, he said, provides “the ecosystem of having people in the knowledge economy working in a town they want to be living in and we want to attract those folks, and we want to have them on our team. It’s very hard to recruit people like that in Hartford.”

In his prepared comments, Bertolini promised the move would have “minimal impact on Aetna’s Connecticut-based associates.” Some of the company’s operations would remain in Hartford and the Consumer Health & Services team would keep operating out of Wellesley, Mass.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said this should serve as a wake-up call for Connecticut.

“Now that Aetna has made its decision final, I hope it serves as a clear and powerful message to leaders of both political parties in Connecticut that we need to take bold action quickly. The city of Hartford is finally seeing the start of the revitalization that eluded us for so long, and you can feel the new energy in the capital city. But at the same time, Hartford and the state of Connecticut as a whole are facing fiscal crises that are decades in the making, and can’t be fixed with stop-gaps or band aids,” Bronin said in a release.

The de Blasio administration said the jobs created through Aetna’s move to Manhattan will count toward the mayor’s recently-announced “New York Works” plan, which is supposed to create 100,000 jobs paying at least $50,000 throughout the next ten years.

The plan calls for the creation of at least 15,000 life sciences and health care jobs.