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Centene cancels plans for $1 billion regional headquarters in Charlotte

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Health insurance giant Centene has canceled plans to establish a new East Coast headquarters and tech hub near UNC Charlotte.

What they’re saying: The St. Louis Fortune 50 company cited a “fundamental shift in the way people work” as the reason for its decision. These days, almost 90% of its workforce is fully remote or working in some sort of hybrid environment.

“As a result of this shift, we have decided not to open an East Coast Headquarters in Charlotte, and many of our 1,700 employees across the state will work remotely or in a hybrid working model that suits their personal needs,” a Centene spokesperson said in a statement to Axios.

  • Charlotte Business Journal first reported the news of Centene’s decision Thursday.

Why it matters: When Centene announced plans to open a Charlotte campus, it was the biggest single jobs announcement in North Carolina history. That was 2020, in the midst of a pandemic and an economic downturn. Still, Centene was optimistic about Charlotte.

  • At the time, the company vowed to create 3,200 jobs here. If it met those hiring goals, it would have received up to $450 million in incentives from the state of North Carolina, Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte.
  • Centene planed to spend $1 billion on the campus.

Last summer, CEO Michael Neidorff told reporters Centene’s campus could ultimately accommodate 6,000 employees. He also suggested that it was a possibility that the company would move its global headquarters to Charlotte.

“This is a great facility. We’ll see how things evolve,” Neidorff said at the time. “Everything’s always on the table, but right now we have a wonderful headquarters (in St. Louis).”

Zoom out: Centene is in the midst of building a 800,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility in Charlotte. It will be completed within a few weeks, per CBJ.

  • The company told CBJ it’s in conversations to find another company to occupy the building.

Related Axios story: Most anticipated Charlotte developments breaking ground in 2022

The post Centene cancels plans for $1 billion regional headquarters in Charlotte appeared first on Axios Charlotte.



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