Warwick holds some prime commercial real estate – and business is booming.
The city recently attracted an affiliate of a multibillion-dollar insurance company to relocate from Providence. The Legacy Financial Group, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, moved into 9,100 square feet of the 75,000-square foot building at 125 Metro Center Blvd. on July 1. The three-story commercial office building is owned and built by Michael Integlia & Co. Most of the Legacy Financial Group’s clientele will originate from within 50 miles of the new Metro Center location and the ability to provide customer conveniences is crucial to attracting, and keeping, new clients while remaining competitive in the market, said Timothy M. Ludwig, general agent at Legacy.
“All the financial components [of the move] were more favorable, and on average we found a 20 to 25 percent cost savings on the office space in Warwick. There was an extra 30 to 40 percent higher costs in the city of Providence, and no quantifiable advantages to staying there,” said Ludwig. Legacy provides financial consulting and insurance to individual and business clients across the United States.
With the relocation, Legacy is projected to double in revenue, size and employment within the next four years, based on the cost-savings and benefits associated with their new location.
Ludwig and his local corporate peers have cited better tax treatment, the city’s centrality and excellent customer accessibility as the motive to relocate to Warwick. Ludwig cited proximity to the state highway system, as well as the new Amtrak train station and T.F. Green Airport interlink, and hassle-free parking.
The relocation brought 51 jobs to the city, with 40 new positions expected to become available as the affiliate continues to expand.
The relocation more than doubled the operating area of its previous lease, in a new development that was designed to stricter environmental standards, with lower energy usage and better efficiency, as well as a porous pavement designed to reduce water pollutants into the aquifer.
Mayor Scott Avedisian and Legacy’s management team met last Wednesday to talk over the details of the move and what it means for the city. Interestingly, convenient parking seemed to be a large part of the deal breaker.
“Parking is a huge issue, a big reason why we get customers. It’s a lot easier to get them here, rather than in the city. This is a fantastic area where the buildings are new and updated,” said Ludwig.
For Ludwig, it was a simple, time-proven business model: make parking easier, move close to main transportation centers and expect increased revenue streams. In fact, exponential growth occurred for similar Warwick-based independent affiliate firms of other financial groups, like John Hancock, who chose to settle into the city for similar reasons, as cramped cities become less viable and conducive to a successful businesses environment.
“Warwick is a great spot. We chose this location because our clients would have easier access. Our growth was exponential when we came here from Providence, and we’re still growing,” said Chris Beaulieu in a phone interview, the manager at a local independent financial partner of John Hancock. “It’s been a really good decision to make this move.”
Ludwig took the Mayor on a tour of the office, highlighting its advanced engineering and design: quarters placed strategically for maximum customer privacy with conference rooms completely windowless; energy efficient construction that includes a state-of-the-art heat-reflective roof, solar tinted heat-reflective windows; improved energy efficient climate control systems; and a newly developed, porous pavement. This means minimal puddles during rainstorms and a lessened need for chemical ice melt in the winter.
“It is a low-impact drainage design that allows water to penetrate through the pavement and into the subsoil. It actually filters the water through the pavement’s stone and sand before it is released into the aquifer,” explained Michael Integlia Jr., president of Michael Integlia & Co.
“We’re thrilled to be here,” Ludwig said to the mayor, who answered, “We’re happy to have you.”