Report: State Farm to open claims offices in downtown Tacoma

State Farm has confirmed its plan to open new offices in downtown Tacoma later this year, according to a report published Friday on The News Tribune‘s Web site. The company will lease office space in the former Russell Investments headquarters building, located at 909 South A Street, and in the Columbia Bank Center building, located at 1301 A Street. According to The News Tribune‘s report, the company plans to hire 300 employees this summer and open a claims processing center in the locations it has leased in downtown Tacoma, which are large enough to staff 1,100 employees.

The State Farm Operations Center, the company’s regional headquarters, is based in DuPont, Wash.

In 2010, Russell Investments moved its headquarters (and approximately 1,000 employees) out of downtown Tacoma and into the former WaMu Center in downtown Seattle. The global investment advisory firm founded in Tacoma in 1936 grew to become downtown’s largest private employer. The company was purchased by Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Insurance Co. in 1998.

**UPDATE*** Fri., April 19 @ 7:33 p.m. — Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and City Manager T.C. Broadnax issued the following statement:

“We are excited to welcome State Farm and look forward to their arrival,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “The presence of a Fortune 50 company adds to the increasing vitality of the downtown core. The City continues to invest in the community with its support of entrepreneurial and small business development, exciting mobility improvements like the LINK Light Rail expansion and the Pacific Avenue Streetscape project. This is not just a downtown win. It’s a win for our entire community.”

“The addition of State Farm to our downtown is consistent with the city’s economic development strategy,” said City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “I want to commend my staff for their diligence in working with the local real estate brokers and the company’s representatives to help make this deal possible. We will continue to work toward creating future investment opportunities that will help shape our diverse local economy.”

***UPDATE*** Fri., April 19 @ 12:30 p.m. — U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) issued the following statement:

“This is great news for folks in Tacoma. This is a really big deal for the people who are going to be able to get great-paying jobs for years to come, for Tacoma’s downtown — including local retailers who are getting a shot in the arm — and for everyone who was involved in making this happen. Successes like these involve hard work from a lot of folks — from the building owners, to the brokers involved, to the City of Tacoma and the Economic Development Board — all of whom are working hard to promote our region and make it a great place to live and work. I congratulate State Farm on making a great decision. I’m excited to be a partner in promoting policies that create jobs and promote growth.”

***UPDATE*** Fri., April 19 @ 11:51 a.m. — Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy issued the following statement:

“Pierce County welcomes State Farm’s decision to open an Initial Loss Reporting center in downtown Tacoma. This follows Amazon’s recent decision to build in DuPont. In Frederickson, a company called FPS/EnCon is preparing to build the concrete rings that will line the new SR-99 tunnel in Seattle. Thousands of jobs are being added to our local economy, which continues to demonstrate that this is a great place to live, work and play. Lots of people worked together to make these successes a reality, including property owners, local cities and the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. And they’re not done. We continue to work on other opportunities to attract great companies to the area.”

The former Russell Investments headquarters building in downtown Tacoma. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)