Cigna HealthCare, one of downtown's major employers, is shifting office space and shrinking its central city work force.
The health insurer is moving from TVA's Chattanooga Office Complex on Market Street and leasing three floors in the 401 Building at Chestnut and Fourth streets, said John Sorrow, Cigna's mid-South division president.
When the move is complete around early December, Cigna will have about 300 workers downtown, he said. Two years ago, the insurer had 1,100 workers in the city's core.
Mr. Sorrow said the company has been relocating some of its downtown workers to its Hamilton Place-area offices and that will continue. Also, he said, the company has a growing work-at-home emphasis.
But even after the move, the company still will have about 2,000 workers in Chattanooga, Mr. Sorrow said.
"Tennessee is important to Cigna," he said.
TVA spokesman Jim Allen said the utility will consider its options on the 180,000 square feet of space Cigna is leasing in the 1.1 million-square-foot complex.
"Cigna has been a good partner with TVA for the 12 years they have leased the TVA office space," Mr. Allen said. "TVA provided Cigna with a competitive offer for them to remain in their current location."
Kim White, who heads the downtown nonprofit redevelopment group The RiverCity Co., said she's glad Cigna is keeping a downtown presence. She said there's also a chance to backfill the TVA space.
Mrs. White said there has been interest in downtown space from several call centers.
Cigna is leasing 50,000 square feet on the first, third and fourth floors of the 401 Building, according to Mr. Sorrow. He said the company signed a five-year deal for the space.
Larry Armour, who owns the 401 Building with builder Steve Dillard, said the 170,000-square-foot structure is now 98 percent leased.
"It has all the amenities on the north end of town - all the restaurants and you can walk to the river at lunch," he said.
Also, the building is easy to find with the Fourth Street interchange to U.S. Highway 27, Mr. Armour said.
Mr. Sorrow said that after the move, most Cigna employees will use a parking garage adjacent to the 401 Building, though some will park in a nearby paid lot.
He said TVA gave the insurer "good options. It really came down to it that we didn't need that much space any more." The company will have about 1,300 people at its Hamilton Place facility when the shift is complete, Mr. Sorrow said.