Take a look inside CareSource’s new downtown building

Downtown Dayton’s first new office tower in a decade is now home to 450 employees with capacity for more than 700.

CareSource, the Dayton-based insurance company, this spring completed construction of its second newly-constructed office building in the city. The new building is at First and Jefferson streets and is the first new office tower in downtown since CareSource’s headquarters was built 10 years ago.

The new building, called Pamela Morris Center after the insurer’s founding CEO, is designed to be prepared for future company growth and for the preferences of future employees, with moveable furniture, whiteboards and outlets so employees can work away from their cubicles.

Credit: Robert Dibrell

Credit: Robert Dibrell

Dan McCabe, chief administrative officer, said the building is designed to have lots of comfortable conversation areas where employees and managers can meet one-on-one, where coworkers can gather and employees can work on their laptops.

“It’s interesting when you think about the 10 years from when we opened our headquarters to opening this building, the change in workspace and how employees work together,” McCabe said. “And over the last number of years, we’ve really tried to create more collaboration space within our buildings.”

Credit: SARAH FRANKS

Credit: SARAH FRANKS

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CareSource has about 3,000 Dayton employees. The new building contains the company’s first large multi-purpose space, called Founders Hall, which helps because previously the company would have to find space off site if it wanted to gather more than 50 people. With seats and tables, the room can fit about 160 and if the chairs are arranged like an auditorium it can fit closer to 200.

There’s amenities like a coffee bar, a full-service cafeteria and a bus stop outside the entrance to get on the Flyer, which is the free downtown circulator that CareSource co-sponsors.

“It’s not unusual for our employees to jump on the Flyer and go to the Oregon District and have lunch there. That circulation has created a lot more options for employees,” he said.

CareSource has staff in four other office buildings downtown, including its headquarters, Ballpark Village offices at 220 E. Monument Ave., at 40 W. Second St., and the third and fourth floors of the Kettering Tower. McCabe said they plan to keep those other offices as well.

CareSource was originally an Ohio Medicaid plan but now handles policies in five states and has about 2 million policy holders. McCabe said one of the goals of the new building was to have the whole Ohio market team together instead of scattered between their different offices.

When the initial plans for the new CareSource building were announced in 2016 CareSource was going through a time of rapid growth.

Ohio had expanded Medicaid in 2014 and gave a big boost of new members for CareSource, which to this day primarily manages Medicaid plans. CareSource went from $3.7 billion in revenue in 2013 to $10.4 billion last year. CareSource said in its annual report that it spent 91 percent of that money back out on health care and kept about 9 percent for administration.

Credit: SARAH FRANKS

Credit: SARAH FRANKS

After building construction started, CareSource continued to add more members, manage more money and branch out into new services, such as managing mental health benefits, and is now getting into the business of helping managing veterans benefits.

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CareSource declined to release how much it cost to open the new six-story building. The building has more than 200,000 square feet.

City building permits indicate it was at least a $22 million construction project. One permit estimated the building shell cost $8.7 million, another said the footer and foundation cost $4.2 million and a third estimated the interior build out cost $9.7 million. There were also additional permits filed for smaller work throughout the project.

Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said as CareSource grows, those additional employees are important to the downtown small business community because it means more employees patronizing downtown shops and restaurants.

The new building also speaks to the company’s commitment to the city, she said.

“CareSource is a strong advocate of downtown and they could have built that building anywhere and they chose to build it downtown and we’re very appreciative of that,” Gudorf said.

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