Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Client: Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Locations: Baltimore

Real Estate Type: Office

Services Provided:

Tenant Representation

Square Footage: 171,000 square feet

Project Overview

Transamerica Life Insurance Company, with over 14.2 million customers, is one of the largest insurers in the United States. With two business units located in two buildings in downtown Baltimore, Transamerica had over 650 employees contributing to the local economy, but little visibility on the Baltimore skyline. The two locations included 110,000 square feet of leased space at 520 Park Avenue and an owned, 200,000 SF building at 1111 North Charles Street that no longer met Transamerica’s needs.

The Challenge

As part of a strategic corporate restructuring, Transamerica’s CEO wanted to consolidate the two Baltimore business units, move additional employees to the facility from Cedar Rapids and Louisville, increase space efficiency and establish greater regional visibility for Transamerica under the most favorable economic terms possible. They required an efficient building that offered contiguous floor availability and delivery within twelve months which, even in a market with high vacancy rates, was an aggressive goal. DTZ was chosen for its decades-long history of serving Transamerica’s real estate needs.

The Solution

Although vacant space options were obvious, the real challenge was to identify Baltimore City land assemblages for a build-to-suit opportunity and non-publicized opportunities in existing buildings. Through this extensive search process, DTZ assisted in the selection of 100 Light Street – a recently refurbished, iconic office building located in the heart of Baltimore’s harbor. 100 Light Street was largely vacant at the time and allowed for far more space efficiency and presented the most prominent signage opportunity in Baltimore. DTZ also spearheaded the development of a financial incentives package with the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland. Concurrently, the DTZ team marketed 1111 North Charles Street, the building owned by Transamerica, selling it to non-profit Chase Brexton Health Services.

Results Achieved

With DTZ's assistance, Transamerica signed a ten-year lease for 171,000 square feet at 100 Light Street. The building was renamed Transamerica Tower, with skyline signage. The transaction reduced Transamerica’s footprint by 50% and brought two business units together, facilitating the client’s consolidation plan. The CEO of Transamerica moved his office to 100 Light Street from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, bringing with him much of the company’s upper level management, making 100 Light Street the new headquarters for Transamerica.

The total value of the lease was $50 million, making it the largest office lease in Baltimore in 2010. The terms of the transaction included free rent, a generous tenant improvement allowance, and growth and expansion options. DTZ also successfully sold 1111 N. Charles Street to Chase Brexton Health Services for $6.7 million.