Pemco plans to sell headquarters in Seattle as part of a hybrid operation – and does not rule out a convention out of town

Seattle-based Pemco Insurance is “investigating” the sale of its Westlake headquarters and seems open to the possibility of leaving the city where it was founded nearly 75 years ago.

The decision to list a five-story building measuring 90,000 square feet at 1,300 Dexter Ave. N., announced Thursday morning, partially reflects Pemco’s plans to allow employees to work remotely even after a pandemic, the company said.

“Simply put, we have more space than we need in today’s business environment,” said Stan McNotan, president and CEO of Pemco, or Mutual Insurance Civil Servants, in an email. The building, which had about 225 employees before the pandemic, is mostly empty today.

Pemco is “financially stable,” and the decision to sell is also driven by “its fiscal responsibility to act in the interests of its member owners,” McNaughton added.

As for where Pemco can move, the statement said only that “PEMCO has no plans to leave the Northwest Pacific, where it has been a member of the community since 1949.”

The company “is still assessing what size and type of headquarters is needed for its hybrid work model and where it should be located,” the statement added.

Pemco did not allow McNaughton for questions. Asked whether the statement in the statement points to the Northwest Pacific and not to Seattle, a company spokesman declined to give a definitive answer.

“Like other companies in the region and the insurance industry, PEMCO sees the potential sale of our Westlake property as an important next step in implementing our hybrid model, enabling us to identify new locations and ways to work with clients, our communities. and each other, ”spokesman Derek Wing said in an email Thursday afternoon.

“We remain committed to the Northwest Pacific and look forward to further positive impact here,” he added.

The company also has a regional office in Spokane with leased office space and “is also considering our options in Spokane,” Wing said.

The total number of Pemco work teams is 536 people, and revenue in 2021 is $ 481.5 million, according to Wing.

Pemco paid $ 31.5 million in 2015 for the Dexter headquarters building and property, which were recently valued at $ 43 million, county records show. The company said it also sells three neighboring facilities.

McNotan said the sale was part of a strategic shift caused in part by the pandemic.

We lean into the future, evolving as a company, focusing on “how” we do business, not on “where”. For us, this means continuing to use cloud technology and supporting our hybrid work, ”McNotan said.

The prospect of a Pemco’s departure from Seattle comes when the city is experiencing increasing pressure from employers on issues such as taxes and crime, and growing competition from neighboring cities such as Bellevue.

“We no longer think HQ1 will be Seattle,” Amazon CEO Andrew Jesse said last year. GeekWire Summit. “We really think of it as Puget Sound. … We have a lot of people in Seattle, but we also have a lot of people in Bellevue, and that’s where most of our growth will be. ”

Even if Pemco doesn’t leave Seattle, its embrace of the hybrid model fuels fears that Seattle’s offices may not be replenished even after the pandemic dies down.

Occupancy of offices in downtown Seattle was only 40% as of May 22, according to the location of a mobile phone from published Seattle Downtown Association. That’s about a 7-point improvement over the previous three months, but it’s unclear how much more office employment is likely and how fast.

Nationally, office employment seems to be stuck at around 43%, according to the weekly 10 Cities Index from Kastle Systems, a security firm that tracks office occupancy on the use of employee key cards.

“Consistency over the month suggests that these occupancy rates may become the new norm for businesses across the country,” Castle said this week, adding that “due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases, we may see a shift in occupancy.” in the coming weeks. “

Pemco sells policies for cars, homes, tenants, apartments, boats, pets and other insurance to residents of Washington and Oregon.

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