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Aetna potentially moving hundreds of employees from South Whitehall office

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Aetna  has nearly 500 employees in the space it leases at 1550 Pond Road in South Whitehall Township.
Aetna has nearly 500 employees in the space it leases at 1550 Pond Road in South Whitehall Township. - (Photo / )

Aetna could potentially move hundreds of its employees from a corporate office in South Whitehall Township to a new site in Bethlehem.

The health insurance company has nearly 500 employees in the space it leases at 1550 Pond Road, according to Peter Gebert, president and CEO of Franklin Realty Development Corp. of Blue Bell, owner of the multi-tenant building on Pond Road off Cedar Crest Boulevard.

Gebert said he did not receive any written notification from the company indicating it would leave.

“It’s under consideration,” Gebert said. “I think they are looking for much cheaper alternatives. I heard they are looking for Class-C space. It’s going to be a 100 percent monetary decision.”

Franklin Realty’s building is a three-story, 145,000-square-foot building considered Class-A office space.

The space Aetna is looking at, according to an unnamed source, is the former Wells Fargo call center at 1015 Club Ave. in West Bethlehem near the Allentown border. Published reports show the call center, next to Marshalls and Big Lots in Lehigh Shopping Center, closed in 2017, slashing 460 jobs for Wells Fargo employees.

Christine Silva, business development strategist for Brixmor Property Group, which is leasing the space in Lehigh Shopping Center, did not return requests for comment.

Aetna occupies a floor and a half of Gebert’s building in South Whitehall Township, which his company bought in 2013.

“They’ve been a good tenant,” Gebert said. “We’ve put millions of dollars into the building.”

He said Aetna’s lease is up next spring, but declined to provide an exact date.

Representatives from Aetna, headquartered in Hartford, Conn., did not return requests for comment.

Gina Brennan, senior associate for Cushman & Wakefield, confirmed that she represents Aetna, but declined to provide further information about the potential move.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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