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CareSource to build 7-story office building in downtown

CareSource again plans to put its stamp on the Dayton skyline with the construction of a seven-story building at the corner of Jefferson and First streets that will help the nonprofit add an estimated 400 new jobs.

The building, which will be called CareSource Center City, will be 250,000 square feet and will hold 900 employees. Groundbreaking is set for 2017 and is expected to be finished sometime in 2019, company officials said.

“When CareSource grows, Dayton grows,” Mayor Nan Whaley said during the press conference announcing the new building, attended by representatives from the city, Montgomery County, the local Port Authority, JobsOhio, the Dayton Development Coalition, Dayton Public Schools, and the Downtown Dayton Partnership, among others.

CareSource CEO Pamela Morris applauded the attendees and referred to them as partners in the company’s effort to “continue to be part of the strengthening of the core of our city.”

“More than 10 years ago, we took a bold step in the height of the economic recession and invested in Dayton by building the CareSource headquarters at Main and Monument,” Morris said. “We were confident then in the uniqueness of downtown and stepped up to lead the way in identifying underutilized land and reinvigorating it with new purpose. Since that time, we have exceeded what I could have imagined for us.”

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The nonprofit Medicaid managed care provider and commercial health insurer is one of Dayton’s fastest-growing companies, and is downtown’s largest employer with about 2,100 employees in four different buildings: Company headquarters at 230 N. Main St., just west of the proposed new office building; its “Ballpark Village” offices at 220 E. Monument Ave., across the street from the Dayton Dragon’s stadium; call-center offices at 40 West Second St.; and recently renovated office space on the third and fourth floors of the Kettering Tower.

The new building would be connected by a plaza to CareSource headquarters and Ballpark Village offices, creating a “walkable campus-like environment for employees within the core of downtown Dayton,” the company said in a press release.

The company leases most of the approximately 600,000 square feet of office space it currently occupies downtown, except for the headquarters building.

“We have managed our space needs by renovating existing locations in downtown,” she said. “But as we forecast for the future, our experience and analysis has proven that it is more cost efficient to own and operate a new building than to lease and renovate existing space.”

CareSource and the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority will work together to develop the office building on the former site of Patterson Co-op school. The now-vacant land will be acquired from the local school district by the port authority in a $1 million transaction approved by the school board Wednesday evening.

In addition to receiving $1 million in cash from the Port Authority, the school district will also receive certain funding and services from CareSource, according to the resolution approved by the board.

CareSource declined to elaborate on the details until the project is finalized, which is contingent on tax-credit financing and other incentives from state and local authorities, officials said.

The new building would be the first new high-rise to open downtown since CareSource’s headquarters opened in 2008 with the help of the Port Authority, which also helped build the nonprofit’s adjacent parking garage, representing a combined investment of nearly $75 million.

Since that time, the company has seen its business operations and employment accelerate dramatically.

Over the past five years, company-wide employment has grown from 1,200 to 3,100 in four states — including 860 new employees added in the past year alone — while membership in its health plans has grown to more than 1.5 million.

Much of the company’s growth can be attributed to its roll-out of private health plans under the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio in 2014.

And the company is showing no signs of slowing down, projecting membership in its CareSource-brand marketplace plans to grow by 50,000 to 75,000 next year, on top of 124,000 current enrollees in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. And those figures don’t include thousands of new Medicaid members newly eligible for coverage as a result of expansion, which has already added more than 600,000 low-income Ohioans to the state’s Medicaid rolls.

CareSource has also benefited from the implementation of the MyCare Ohio program, and the launch of Medicare Advantage plans in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Jeremy Kelly, Kara Driscoll and Cory Frolik contributed to this story.

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