Ochsner to move 500-750 employees to Benson Tower

New Orleans City Business – Ochsner will be moving approximately 500 to 750 of its employees to Benson Tower by the first quarter of 2012, a representative for the health system said today.

The affected employees will come from its “executive, corporate and other business functions,” said Bill Ward, vice president of Ochsner Health System Facilities, Real Estate and Support Services. Ward was out of town and submitted a statement via email.

Ochsner has agreed to a lease 80,000 square feet, encompassing four floors at the 26-story building at 1450 Poydras St.. That provides enough room to eventually house 1,000 employees, Ward said.

With the Ochsner lease, Benson Tower’s occupancy would surpass 90 percent, said Mike Siegel, president of Corporate Realty, which manages the building. State offices still makeup roughly two-thirds of the building’s tenants, he said.

Most workers at Benson Tower use the Superdome parking lots, which have capacity for 5,000 vehicles, Siegel said. He deferred questions about Ochsner’s parking accommodations to the health system, but noted that there is ample parking available downtown.

While he would not disclose specific terms of the deal, Siegel described it as a “long-term lease” and said it provides for “prominent Ochsner signage in and around the building.”

“It’s a positive statement for downtown and the multi-parish area that we have an entity like Ochsner that’s continuing to grow,” Seigel said.

Benson Tower’s quoted rent was $18 per square foot when Corporate Realty responded to a CityBusiness survey in late August.

In his statement, Ward stressed that the move will not affect Ochsner patient services in any way.

The Ochsner footprint in south Louisiana includes eight hospitals, 38 health centers and four fitness centers.

By: Greg LaRose