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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 13, 202005:10 AM EST

Florida Blue upgrades could reach $45 million

The insurer is continuing to update its Deerwood campus with most of its 6,000 employees working remotely.

Florida Blue continues to renovate the office buildings at its Deerwood Park campus in an investment that could top $45 million, although COVID-19 is delaying work on the remaining two structures.

The city is reviewing a permit application for a $5.3 million renovation of Building 800 at the insurer’s 100-acre property at 4800 Deerwood Campus Parkway.

Those plans call for interior renovations of the six-story building, including mechanical, electrical and plumbing work; drywall, paint, carpet and flooring; and casework and restroom repairs.

The city issued a permit July 4 for the interior demolition at a cost of $300,000. Danis Builders LLC is the contractor.

“The demolition on the interior of Building 800 at the Deerwood campus is part of our ongoing renovations of our 20-year-old buildings,” said Toni Woods, Florida Blue senior media relations consultant, although project completion is delayed.

Woods said there typically are about 6,000 employees at the Deerwood campus. Most are working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Prior to the current pandemic and most of our employees working remotely, we were able to spread teams out to floors in other buildings. We had a very detailed logistics plan for moving teams temporarily while their building was being renovated,” she said.

Woods said some of the buildings are more than 20 years old and were in need of repairs in addition to updated interiors and workspaces. 

“As our workforce has grown and workspaces have evolved, we want all seven buildings to have similar designs, resources and work areas. Even before the pandemic the renovations included touchless faucets and toilets, something that other office complexes are now considering,” she said.

Woods said in May 2017 the insurer is upgrading the 1.3 million-square-foot complex to include mechanical, electrical, plumbing and interior feature improvements. 

Of the seven office buildings on its campus, three opened in 1996, two in 1998 and two more plus a conference center and four-story parking garage in 2008.

Woods said previously Florida Blue would upgrade five office buildings and now intends to renovate the remaining two  – 800 and 900, both built in 2008.

It has completed renovations on Buildings 100, 200, 300, 400 and 600.

The basic construction costs for those total $35.1 million. The pending permit boosts that to more than $40 million. Renovations of the seventh building could increase that to at least $45 million.

Woods said that by renovating each building, Florida Blue was able to increase its workforce capacity by 40% at a lower cost than constructing an eighth office building, which would have increased capacity by 15%.

In case you wondered, there are no buildings 500 and 700 because of the office building configuration on the site, with even-numbered buildings on one side and odd-numbered structures on the other.

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