BLOOMINGTON — State Farm plans to sell its 89-year-old original headquarters building in downtown Bloomington.
The company made the announcement in a Monday afternoon statement released after a meeting between company officials, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner, interim City Manager Steve Rasmussen and others to discuss marketing the property at 112 E. Washington St.
"We are in the early stages of this process, and details have not been finalized. When appropriate, we’ll share additional information," said State Farm spokesman Jim Camoriano.
The downtown building comprises about 200,000 square feet and was constructed in four phases between 1929 and 1947.
"The facility served as our corporate headquarters until 1974," said State Farm. "We will remove and preserve items of historical value from the building and are considering ways to continue to honor this part of our company’s heritage."
"They did say their preference is to try and put the entire building on the market," said Renner. "They did not mention a price. We asked."
The building is valued at just under $9 million, according to the McLean County assessor's office.
Renner said it will be interesting to see what types of businesses are interested in the building.
"Unless it's something like a very large office building or hotel it's hard to see a singular use," added the mayor. "It could be that (the new owner) rents out or leases part of it. It could be apartments and a hotel or any number of things."
As mayor, Renner said he wants to work with State Farm and whoever purchases the building to ensure that "it's the highest and best use of that that land for our downtown and continues to be an asset for the downtown and our community."
State Farm moved the last 150 employees from the downtown building at the end of January to its other Bloomington facilities as maintenance work, which included asbestos abatement and installation of fire sprinklers and alarm systems, was being completed.
The company announced in early January it had no plans for employees to return to the downtown facility and that it would "explore all options for the future" after the maintenance work was completed.
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But the company had not said until Monday whether it would sell the building that once housed as many as 900 workers.
The building's size and layout are not conducive to a new collaborative workplace model that State Farm is using at its hubs and remodeling taking place at its corporate facilities on Bloomington's east side, according to company officials.
"They did show us around their new business model (at State Farm's Corporate North building)," said Renner. "They just feel that they have the space that they need at that building and newer (hubs).
"I think it's probably another phase in technology and adaptability that lots of companies are going through in terms of modernization."
Renner said he hopes State Farm will leave its big red letters on top of the downtown building to signify Bloomington as the birthplace of the nationwide insurer.
In addition to pulling out of the downtown Bloomington building, State Farm is closing 11 facilities across the U.S. over the next four years. Two State Farm call centers in Tacoma, Wash., were recently added to the closure list.
The closures are part of a restructuring State Farm officials said will help serve its customers in more efficient ways, including realigning its information technology areas from three departments into one, which the company now calls "enterprise technology."
As part of the IT realignment, 890 nonmanagement analyst positions are being cut in Bloomington. About 380 of those positions are being moved to the three hubs.
The company also plans to add about 550 jobs in its local claims division.
Also, as a result of an 18-month study a majority of State Farm's administrative services workforce will be located in the firm's corporate facilities in Bloomington and hub locations of Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix, the company said last month. The administrative services division manages and protects physical assets such as facilities, documents and technology hardware and provides employee safety, security, business continuity, vendor management and procurement, according to State Farm.
Camoriano said the Bloomington-based workforce is "in the vicinity" of 15,000 employees. The company has about 65,000 employees across the U.S., including 23,000 employed at the hubs in Georgia, Texas and Arizona.