Bryan buys former insurance campus in Lincoln’s Firethorn development as office space

Hanah Lopes

In 2016, Bryan Health did a 10-year master plan, and one of the needs identified as part of that planning was a centralized facility to accommodate business and support functions for the growing health system.

One possibility to fulfill that need was to find available ground somewhere in Lincoln and build a new facility. The other option was to find an existing building that would meet Bryan’s needs.

The second option turned out to be the right one.

Bryan Health completed the purchase earlier this month of the two office buildings and more than 20 acres of land owned by Allstate in the Firethorn development of east Lincoln. The purchase price was $16 million.

Bryan said in a news release that the purchase provides a move-in-ready facility that is significantly less expensive than acquiring land to build new buildings or continuing costly lease agreements, as well as a location near 84th and Van Dorn streets that is accessible to employees and convenient to both its Lincoln hospital campuses.

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“We are thrilled this very cost-effective opportunity presented itself. It will allow Bryan to invest more into our team and patient care,” said Mike Dewerff, chief financial officer of Bryan Health. “The location and existing facilities are outstanding and meet every element we were seeking when we began exploring options.”

The campus, near Firethorn Golf Club, was built in 1998 to be the home of Lincoln Benefit Life, which Allstate owned at the time. It has two office buildings that have about 165,000 square feet of space between them.

Lincoln Benefit Life employees — who made up the bulk of Allstate’s workforce in Lincoln — moved out of the buildings shortly after Allstate completed the sale of the company in 2014.

Allstate said at that time that it planned to “maintain a significant presence in Lincoln,” where it had other employees working in financial services, underwriting, technology, customer service, human resources and other areas.

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Tanya Robinson, an Allstate spokeswoman, said some of the company’s local employees are able to work from home, while others will continue to work out of the office “until we establish a new space in the area that meets our current and future needs.”

Bryan said it plans to move employees into the two buildings on what it plans to call the Bryan Firethorn Campus over a three-to-five-year period starting with departments that are working in its medical office buildings and in rented facilities.

Watch an interview with Jayne Ellenwood, laboratory client services manager for Bryan Health.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or [email protected]

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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