CareFirst Inks 80K-SF Lease in Columbia’s Merriweather District – Commercial Observer
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, a major not-for-profit health insurance provider in the mid-Atlantic region, has leased 80,000 square feet at 6100 Merriweather Drive, part of the growing Merriweather District in Downtown Columbia, Md.
The lease brings the 320,000-square-foot building to 97 percent occupancy.
Developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation, Merriweather District has seen approximately 2 million square feet of new development in the past two years.
“Companies such as CareFirst are a natural fit for this area when you look at the type of talent they are looking to retain and attract,” Greg Fitchitt, president of the Columbia region for The Howard Hughes Corporation, told Commercial Observer. “The Howard Hughes Corporation has been in conversation with CareFirst as a potential tenant for several years, as we deeply believe their mission and commitment to a healthy community aligns closely with our core values.”
CareFirst will occupy the entire third and fourth floors of the building, as well as parts of the first and second.
“To create the right work-life balance, we continually evaluate the needs of our mobile, hybrid workforce while providing an environment where our employees can perform at their best,” Angela Celestin, chief human resources officer for CareFirst, said in a prepared statement.
The 12-story building opened in 2019. It offers flexibility and a range of options within a Class A building that will serve their evolving needs, centered in a vibrant new mixed-use district, Fitchitt said.
CareFirst will design and custom-build its office workplace interiors in 2023 and open in January 2024.
At full buildout, the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia will include 14 million square feet of new development on 391 acres. The Merriweather District will make up 4.9 million square feet of the total mixed-use development, concentrated on 35 acres set within 100 acres of forests, streams and restored wetlands, with the storied music venue Merriweather Post Pavilion serving as the cultural hub of the growing district.
The tenant was represented in the transaction by Phil Leibow and Mike Sullivan from JLL, while Alex Hancock and Patrick Crilley of Transwestern represented the ownership.
Requests for further comment from CareFirst were not immediately returned.
Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.