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AIG to Stick With Brick-and-Mortar Offices

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American International Group announced today that it will be moving its headquarters offices to midtown Manhattan, and leasing a total of 775,000 square feet of office space in and around New York City.

(Related: Nationwide Plans to Make Work-From-Home Permanent for Some Offices)

AIG now fills a 684,000-square-foot building at 175 Water St. in lower Manhattan, in the city’s Financial District.

AIG is leasing eight floors, or 325,000 square feet, at 1271 Avenue of the Americas for its main offices. The building was originally known as the Time & Life Building. It’s part of the Rockefeller Center complex.

AIG is also leasing a total of 450,000 square feet at 28 Liberty St. in Manhattan and at 30 Hudson St. right across the Hudson River, in Jersey City, New York.

AIG said it plans to move into the three new locations in 2021.

The History

AIG descends from American Asiatic Underwriters, an insurance agency that Cornelius Vander Starr started in Shanghai in 1919.

AIG’s best-known headquarters location in the United States was at 70 Pine St. in lower Manhattan. AIG owned and occupied that building from 1976 until 2009.

AIG ran its operations from offices at 180 Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan from 2009 through 2014, and then moved its headquarters into the 175 Water St. building in 2014.

The Real Deal, a New York commercial real estate publication, reported in May 2019 that AIG was looking to move to the 1271 Avenue of the Americas building, and sell the 175 Water St. building for $275 million.

Metro Loft Developers, a company that turns New York office buildings into apartments, bought the 175 Water St. building from a real estate arm of AIG in October for $270 million, according to New York City property transfer records.

The Thinking

AIG is leasing space in brick-and-mortar buildings as some analysts are wondering what concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic will do to the concept of working in offices.

Brian Duperreault, AIG’s chief executive officer, said in a comment included in the headquarters move announcement that New York City has played an important part in AIG’s history.

“We are proud to be headquartered in this unique and resilient city,” Duperreault said “Our new midtown headquarters building is in close proximity to many of our clients, distribution partners and other stakeholders. We take pride in our role as a responsible corporate citizen and remain committed to doing our part to help strengthen our New York City and Jersey City communities.”

Peter Zaffino, AIG’s president, said in another comment that the deals are part of an effort to position AIG for the future.

“Our people are our most important asset, and we remain committed to providing a safe and productive work environment while incorporating key learnings that have emerged while working remotely,” Zaffino said.

— Read Guardian Life Finds Buyers for Headquarters Buildingon ThinkAdvisor.

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