Heritage Insurance, a homeowners insurance company started in Tampa Bay, announced Tuesday that it’s moving its headquarters from Clearwater to Westshore City Center in Tampa. The move will nearly double the company’s current office space and represents its desire to continue to add jobs, CEO Bruce Lucas said.
Lucas said he expects the company, which currently has 350 employees, to have around 400 employees by early next year, and close to 700 in five years.
“It’s become clear to us for quite a while that we have space constraints,” Lucas said. “We’re seeing record growth across the company.”
He added that the company’s goal is to finish moving by April, with the firm deadline of June 1, when hurricane season begins.
This announcement comes at a time when economists have speculated that many companies will reduce their office space long-term as a result of the pandemic forcing them to do a trial run of their employees working from home.
Andrew Wright, a partner in Ally Capital Group, which owns Westshore City Center, and the CEO of Franklin Street, which manages the property, said that this decision shows how companies have realized the difficulties of remote work as the pandemic has dragged on.
“If you’re a growing business … it’s hard to build a corporate identity, corporate culture. It’s hard to facilitate a team,” he said. “That’s essential in a competitive environment.”
Lucas agreed, and said he’s expecting all Heritage employees will be back in the office full-time by the time the move to Tampa is completed.
“The cost of lost productivity and collaboration is far in excess of what you’re paying for the office lease,” he said.
Westshore City Center was originally built in 1975 and was acquired by Tampa-based Ally Capital Group in January 2019, according to a news release. Since then, the company has made major renovations in an effort to make it more walkable, by adding new landscaping, walkways, public art and two restaurants, Wright said.
Heritage’s lease is for 10 years and is for nearly 90,000 square feet.