Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico has leased 84,724 square feet in the Jefferson corridor as it ramps up operations to offer managed-care services through the state’s new Centennial Care Medicaid program.
“We expect to move 400 into the facility before the end of the year,” said Blue Cross spokeswoman Becky Kenny.
Blue Cross’ office expansion will be at The 25 Way, a 234,237-square-foot business complex at the northwest corner of the Jefferson and Interstate 25 interchange. Opened in 2000, the complex is owned by Senior Housing Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust, or REIT, based in Newton, Mass.
The Blue Cross lease was announced Thursday by Scott Whitefield and Terri Dettweiler of CBRE, the commercial real estate services firm that represented the property owner.
Blue Cross’s 84,724-square-foot lease appears to be the biggest new lease transaction in the Albuquerque metro area since 2010.
The Blue Cross expansion comes on the heels of a similar expansion by Molina Healthcare of New Mexico, which is occupying 47,528 square feet at 7401 Snaproll NE in the Journal Center area. Molina is also ramping up operations for the new Centennial Care plan.
Molina is subleasing its space at Snaproll from GE Intelligent Platforms, the successor company to SBS Technologies that left Albuquerque. The sublease was announced earlier this month by Tom Jenkins of Real Estate Advisors, who represented GE in the deal.
The real estate expansions by Blue Cross and Molina follow hiring drives begun earlier this summer in preparation for a seismic shift in the Medicaid program beginning next year.
The shift is being driven in part by requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to open the Medicaid program to an estimated 130,000 adult New Mexicans who are currently uninsured.
On top of the influx of new Medicaid-eligible adults, the state’s revamped Centennial plan also requires additional services to be provided beyond traditional medical care, such as behavioral health and long-term care. The new emphasis on a more coordinated, user-friendly approach to health care is also more labor intensive.
The end result is the need for more staff and more office space for managed-care companies like Blue Cross and Molina that are involved in the Medicaid program.