(Photo by Isabel Leon/City of Boston)
Liberty Mutual Insurance celebrated the expansion of its home office amid praise from state and city officials for creating jobs and boosting the local economy.
The Boston-based insurance company began work on its new 22-story building at 157 Berkeley Street in October 2010. The $300 million project expanded its Back Bay home office by 590,000 square feet and created 500 construction jobs.
“Given the pace of our economic recovery, it’s hard even for some of us to imagine how really desperate we were in 2010,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki at a ribbon cutting ceremony in the building Friday morning.
Bialecki praised the company for moving forward with the expansion project during the recession and for committing to create to 600 jobs by 2029. The expansion will also bring $70 million in new real estate tax revenue to the city over the next 20 years
“It really gave us all a tremendous boost that we would find a way out of this. And now with the city has come back in a glorious fashion and it’s great to see Liberty Mutual be a part of it,” he said.
The construction project also created a new café, outdoor seating on Stuart Street, and a landscaped plaza on St. James Street.
“We sort of revitalized our neighborhood a little bit,” Liberty Mutual chairman and CEO David Long said. “Already we’re seeing folks of all ages enjoying that. It looks a whole heck of a lot better than the parking lot that used to be there.”
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said the expansion’s positive impact on area businesses will be “tremendous.”
“They had so much confidence in the city of Boston, they had so much confidence in their own company that they were willing to invest in this beautiful building,” said Menino, who called on officials and community members to continue to collaborate on all projects.
“We’ve got to work together,” he said. “This is a great city and the only way we’re going to continue improve this city is us working together.”
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