SummaCare has completed its big move down East Market Street to a new headquarters in the former Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. headquarters.

The Akron-based health insurance plan, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has moved from its home for the last 20 years at North Main and West Market streets.

SummaCare becomes the first office tenant — and the largest — in the renovated building that housed Goodyear until 2013, when the tire company built a new headquarters around the corner. A charter school, ICAN, also has been operating in the former headquarters.

The new SummaCare location also creates a “medical corridor” on Market Street with Summa’s Akron City Hospital campus nearby.

“We’re so excited to stay in Akron,” said Anne Armao, SummaCare vice president of marketing, Medicare and individual products. “We helped revitalize Main and Market. Just by moving a little farther east to East Market, we’re helping to revitalize [the] Middlebury [section of Akron], which the mayor is very interested in.”

Movers spent the last three weekends relocating groups of employees from the five-story building at 10 N. Main St. to the new location at 1200 E. Market St.

The previous location on the site of the former Portage Hotel served the insurer well, but was too big for its needs, said SummaCare President Dennis Pijor. The company is going from about 88,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet in The East End development.

“We are proud beyond words,” Pijor said of the company’s new home. “This is an incredible milestone for the company. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate SummaCare’s 25th anniversary than with our dedicated employees in a great new location in an area of town that is truly on an upswing.”

SummaCare celebrated the move with a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday morning, attended by executives from the insurance company, its parent Summa Health and city and county officials. SummaCare officials also unveiled a new logo for the wholly owned subsidiary, which complements a recently redesigned logo for Summa Health.

Carol Smith, senior vice president and director of development services for the East End’s developer, Industrial Realty Group, also known as IRG, said, “We are extremely grateful that a tenant with such a long standing history in Akron has chosen the East End Offices as their new home.”

Smith said there is about 400,000 square feet of space remaining in its East End office complex. “There are multiple other prospective tenants interested in the building. There have been over eight showings within the last two weeks,” she said.

The office complex also will have a cafe that will be available for the employees and their guests and a fitness facility available for office tenants’ use.

Across the street, the former Goodyear Hall has 105 apartment units, which are over 92 percent leased, and a theater with seating for 1,500 and a 20,000-square-foot gym that is being used by Rubber City Sports.

Smith said there also is a barbershop and “we are pursuing a micro brewery and other locally owned restaurants for our remaining space in the former Goodyear Hall complex.”

Employee groups

For SummaCare, going into a newly renovated space allowed the insurer to get all of its employees on one floor, instead of five, and group employees and departments that work together often near each other, Pijor said.

“Since we were just moving in, we put people close to their working relationships,” he said.

The company has 300 employees — about 250 are in the new headquarters and 40 customer service representatives work out of Summa Health’s Gorge Boulevard headquarters to combine operations with Summa’s call center. Additionally, during open enrollment season in the fall, when customers are signing up for their health-care benefits for the next year, SummaCare typically hires about 20 seasonal employees.

SummaCare serves about 73,000 members throughout Ohio, including 24,000 Medicare Advantage customers. The insurer has commercial plan members in about 20 counties in the state and 31 counties with Medicare.

The company is back on track to profitability for 2018 after some challenging years, said Pijor.

SummaCare was under sanctions in 2014 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for violations in the way it handled consumer appeals and grievances. The sanctions were lifted within six months, “but there have been some lingering effects of the sanctions,” Pijor said. The company was profitable in 2016, but in 2017 lost money because it still was paid as a 3.5 star-rated plan (out of 5) instead of a 4-star plan because Medicare reimbursements lag, he said.

The company is back to being a 4.5-star plan and has a strong balance sheet, he said.

“All of those things are behind us and we are looking forward to a real positive fall,” Pijor said.

Akron schools

Akron Public Schools purchased the former SummaCare building from owner Signet LLC and as part of a land swap between the city, the county and United Way of Summit County for several properties and parking downtown. The district will consolidate its two administrative buildings into the new location at Main and Market streets while keeping ownership of the administrative buildings.

SummaCare has been leasing the building from the schools since the purchase was completed in April and will completely vacate the property by the end of the month.

The school district plans to occupy its new home sometime between October and December after renovations are complete, said school spokesman Mark Williamson.

There are no plans yet for either of the school’s administrative buildings — the existing administration building, known as the Sylvester Small Administration Building at 70 N. Broadway, or the Conrad C. Ott Building at 65 Steiner Ave., Williamson said.

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty