Humana leaving Downtown building for Southside offices

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over 900 employees will be moving from Downtown Jacksonville to the Southside in the next year when two insurance companies move their headquarters to the suburbs as city and community leaders are trying to recruit more companies to locate Downtown.

Humana's lease at the SunTrust building on the Southbank ends this year and the insurance company will move 120 employees to two separate locations: 80 executive office employees will move to Prominence, a commercial business park in Baymeadows, and 40 employees in retail sales and customer service will move to the Merchants Walk Shopping Center on San Jose Boulevard in Mandarin.

"We have found in a number of our key markets around Florida we want to be closer to where the customer is," Humana spokesman Mitch Lubitz said.

Aetna announced several weeks ago it was moving 800 employees from its Prudential Drive location to the Bank of America campus on Southside Boulevard next year. In a press release, Aetna cites one of the reasons for leaving as "potential employment growth."

“I think it hurts the Downtown area, the businesses down here, the lunch spots and things of that nature,” Downtown worker Hilda Migues said.

The Downtown Investment Authority, a group that works to attract businesses Downtown, told News4Jax it understands that landlords both Downtown and in the suburbs do their best to recruit tenants.

"We recognize the trend towards office campus environments that are not necessary high-rise office buildings," DIA CEO Aundra Wallace said. "Additionally, some business models are better suited for a suburban office environment."

Wallace added the DIA, along with the city's Office of Economic Development and the JaxUSA Partnership of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, is actively pursuing businesses to bring to the city and expects some to locate Downtown in the future.

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