VOL. 112 | NO. 149 | Friday, August 21, 1998
By LAURIE JOHNSON
Blue Cross/Blue Shield renovates two Downtown offices
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
Blue Cross/Blue Shield has started giving the interiors of its two office buildings Downtown a facelift.
Construction is now underway on improvements to the entrance and lobby of the agencys offices at 600 Jefferson Ave., as well as interior renovations throughout the agencys building at 85 Danny Thomas Blvd.
The renovations are part of an overall renovation project for the two buildings, said Calvin Anderson, vice president of corporate affairs for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
"We made a commitment as a corporation to remain in the Downtown Memphis area, and having made that commitment, we wanted to have our buildings reflect the appreciation we have for our employees and our customers," Anderson said.
The agency is investing about $3 million in the project, which is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 1999, Anderson said.
Renovations to the building on Jefferson include enlarging and improving the employee break room, as well as enhancing the lobby area.
About 250 people work in the four-story building, which Blue Cross/Blue Shield has occupied for the past 10 years.
"It has been a while since we have done anything to the building," Anderson said. "The wear and tear of 250 people plus guests walking in and out has its way of wearing things out."
The agency also is having the flooring and carpeting replaced and is repainting the interior.
In the Danny Thomas location, the agency is upgrading the interior of the entire building and installing new wiring and sprinkler systems.
About 350 Blue Cross/Blue Shield employees work in this location, which the agency has occupied since the early 1970s.
B&B Specialty Contractors Inc. is the general contractor for the project.
Joey Hagan of Architects Inc. designed the plans for the renovations.
The Memphis Blue Cross/Blue Shield offices serve a five-county area in West Tennessee, providing insurance sales, service and claims processing to more than 250,000 of the states 2.1 million Blue Cross/Blue Shield customers.
Anderson said Blue Cross/Blue Shield has had a presence in Downtown Memphis for more than 50 years. Its offices originally were located in the Dermon Building at 46 N. Third St.
The agency reaffirmed its commitment to remain Downtown about two years ago, and since then has been preparing to make these improvements to its office buildings.
"It takes a while from the time you draw up the plans until you actually get into construction," Anderson said.