The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company is planning a major expansion in its home city and state. The state is offering a generous financial incentive for the company to consolidate its operations in Massachusetts.
MassMutual has announced a multi-year consolidation plan that it says will bring 2,000 jobs to Massachusetts including 1,500 jobs at its corporate headquarters in Springfield.
The financial services firm plans to build a $250 million office complex in Boston’s Seaport District and spend $50 million on renovations to its headquarters campus on State Street in Springfield.
MassMutual spokesman James Lacey said the workforce growth in Massachusetts will occur over the next four years.
"So in total, MassMutual will invest $300 million in the Commonwealth and increase our workforce by 70 percent," said Lacey.
The company will close offices in New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Enfield, Connecticut. Most of the jobs being added in Springfield will come from the Enfield office, just 9 miles away over the state line.
Following a strategic assessment of its operations, the decision was made to expand in Massachusetts and not elsewhere, according to the spokesman.
"The Commonwealth has a highly skilled workforce, a rich pipeline of talent from the state's best-in-class higher education institutions, robust local economies, convenient access to transportation, and on and on," said Lacey. "It is a great place to be and grow."
The state is offering MassMutual a $46 million tax break over five years in exchange for creating at least 2,000 jobs. State economic secretary Jay Ash said it is the largest such incentive ever offered a western Massachusetts company.
"MassMutual made it clear to us early on that Springfield is their home and Springfield is the place they want to grow. So, it was incumbent upon us to figure out how to provide the right incentive package to make it financially feasible for them to do so," Ash said in an interview.
Talks about the company’s expansion in Massachusetts took place over the last six months at the highest level between Governor Charlie Baker and MassMutual CEO Roger Crandall, according to Ash.
A Fortune 100 company, MassMutual is one of the largest Massachusetts-based businesses with a total of about 7,300 employees. 3,000 work at the corporate headquarters.
The announcement puts to rest persistent speculation about MassMutual’s future in Springfield, the city where the company was founded in 1851. In recent years, as new businesses were acquired elsewhere, MassMutual had downsized its New England operations.
Last year, the company announced it was looking for a buyer for the Tower Square office building it owns on Main Street in downtown Springfield.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno praised MassMutual as one of the city’s leading corporate citizens.
" Mr. Crandall and MassMutual are very bullish on the city of Springfield," said Sarno, who added: "In horseracing terms it is a 'trifecta.' Not only for Springfield, but the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,and Marty -- Mayor Walsh in Boston --is ecstatic."
MassMutual’s announcement adds “momentum,” according to Rick Sullivan, head of the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, that he said will help the region compete for more business and jobs.
" When a company like MassMutual, which is in a national leadership position, makes this kind of a move others in the industry and related industries will take a look and that gives us more opportunity to sell the region and move our economy forward," Sullivan said.
As was the case when General Electric relocated its corporate headquarters to Boston two years ago, MassMutual’s announcement is a gain for Massachusetts and a loss for Connecticut.
MassMutal is the town of Enfield’s largest employer and largest taxpayer.
Town officials were not told in advance of Thursday’s public announcement about the plans to close the office, according to the Hartford Courant.