Blue Shield of California’s blockbuster lease agreement for nearly 175,000 square feet of space in Rancho Cordova was billed Friday as a deal to spread out existing staff, but it also raised the prospect of more health plan workers coming to the Sacramento area.
“The (Rancho Cordova) location certainly does offer space for longer-term job growth. There’s potential for that,” said Blue Shield spokesman Sean Barry. “We definitely had a need for more space and flexibility for longer term job growth, but there’s nothing to announce at this time.”
San Francisco-based Blue Shield signed a 10-year lease to occupy a two-building complex. Barry said Friday that about 650 workers from Blue Shield’s campus in El Dorado Hills will move to the Rancho Cordova complex between October and December.
They will move into 3300 Zinfandel Drive and the neighboring structure at 10834 International Drive along the Highway 50 corridor. Interior modifications and upgrades will be done at the buildings between now and October.
“The plan is for everyone to be located by the end of November, but to start moving in in October, so it will be a gradual move,” Barry said.
The four-building, 250,000-square-foot El Dorado campus, which is home to about 1,800 employees, will remain open. Jobs moving to Rancho Cordova include workers in network management, medical management and information technology.
The Zinfandel I/Zinfandel II complex of adjacent Class A buildings in Rancho Cordova was acquired by San Francisco-based Strada Investment Group in April 2014. At that time, both buildings were vacant, and the deal was characterized as the largest office-market sale in the Sacramento area in two years.
Scott Stafford, a principal at Strada, said Friday that the site has a 700-stall parking area, and the lease agreement calls for the building of a lot with 300 additional parking stalls on nearby acreage.
Barry said the parking plans, plentiful space, nearby restaurants and shops, and the site’s close proximity to light rail all figured into the move. Barry added that Blue Shield’s local main campus in El Dorado Hills was becoming increasingly cramped, given the number of employees there.
Stafford said the lease deal was the culmination of an extensive Sacramento-area property search.
“There’s still a lot of vacancy in the market, but not a lot of the larger (properties) with around 150,000 square feet. So, when we saw this one, we were optimistic,” he said. “Our plan when we purchased the properties was to capitalize on the relative scarcity of large blocks of available space in the market, and we are incredibly excited to be working with Blue Shield.”
Clyde Rawlings of the JLL real estate firm, along with his partners, Greg Levi, Rob Cole and Alan Stevenson, represented the ownership in the transaction.
“This is one of the most significant transactions to have occurred in our market since the downturn began in 2007,” Rawlings said. “It signals not only an improving local economy but a big vote of confidence for our real estate sector and specifically the Highway 50 corridor.”
Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.