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Consolidation at The Hartford Part of Real Estate Plan, Job Cuts Not Expected

Officials at The Hartford said the sale of the Simsbury campus will not include any job cuts.

In another step in a new company strategy, Simsbury's largest taxpayer, The Hartford, announced Wednesday that it would sell its Simsbury facility and transfer employees to existing campuses in Windsor and Hartford.

Nearly one year after the state's largest insurance employer announced a significant shift in the company's business model, officials at the Hartford told employees and Simsbury officials that they planned to sell the 638,174 square foot building at 200 Hopmeadow Street.

"Hartford has been our home for over 200 years," director of corporate external communications Thomas Hambrick said. "We have a large space here and our facility in Windsor. We decided they were the right fit for our current and future business needs."

The company announced that over the next 18-24 months it will begin to transfer employees from Simsbury to the other two campuses. There are currently 1,500 employees at the Simsbury facility in addition to 300 Mass Mutual and Prudential employees - former Hartford employees whose divisions were sold.

In March 2012 The Hartford announced it was discontinuing the sale of variable and fixed annuities and the company was considering the sale or other alternatives for Individual Life, Woodbury Financial Services and Retirement Plans. In April they announced an agreement to sell its Individual Annuity business to Forethought, a Houston, TX, based financial services company.

Following the initial announcement, Simsbury officials told Patch they were committed to working with the company to keep jobs in town. On Wednesday, town officials said they would take proactive measures that include the "creation of an advisory committee to work with officials from the Hartford and the State as marketing and sale of the building proceeds," according to a release.

Hambrick said the company's plans do not include any job cuts or sales of any other divisions.

"This is all part of our real estate plan," Hambrick said.

In 2011 the company discontinued commercial leases for properties in Shelton and Farmington.

The company said it plans to work closely with state and local officials to find a suitable buyer for the Simsbury facility but there are no prospects at this time. The building in Simsbury was built for the company approximately 30 years ago but the company made a deal to purchase the building for $46 million in 2007. The deal closed in 2010, according to Hambrick.

"There are still a lot of decisions we need to make and included in that is community support," Hambrick said.

In 2013 the company's total tax liability to the town was $1,763,366, according to town records. The loss or revenue comes as the town is already struggling with a drop in tax revenue. In 2012 the town's Grand List shrunk by 13.88 percent, partially due to property revaluations.

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