CNA Insurance will move a claims processing and underwriting office and its 120 employees from suburban Salina to AXA Towers in downtown Syracuse, New York.
With its five-year lease up at 443 Electronics Parkway, Chicago-based CNA decided to lease the eighth and ninth floors of Tower 2 at the 19-floor twin towers at 120 Madison Street.
The move is a loss for the town of Salina but a big gain for downtown, which has struggled to fill office vacancies created by the exodus of large employers to the suburbs over the past 20 years. Downtown has scored a few wins in the past few years, among them the move by the O'Brien & Gere engineering firm and 350 of its employees from DeWitt to Armory Square.
Roy Orr, east zone vice president of claims for CNA, said many of the company's customers are still in the city. So that's where CNA wants to be, he said.
"AXA Towers is truly a landmark in the city," he said. "It stands out. It sends a message."
Built in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a five-story connector wing, AXA Towers, formerly the MONY Towers, is the largest and most recognizable office property in Syracuse. AXA Equitable Life, the building's anchor tenant, employs approximately 900 people in the towers.
The CNA office underwrites commercial insurance policies in all of Upstate New York and processes claims on multiple lines of commercial insurance policies in the mid-Atlantic and New England states.
The move is actually a return to CNA's former home. Orr said CNA's local office was in MONY Towers when he started with the company in the early 1970s.