Blue Shield Moving Headquarters From San Francisco to Oakland

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Blue Shield, a nonprofit health insurer, was founded in San Francisco 78 years ago. (Steve Rhodes/Flickr)

Blue Shield of California says it will save tens of millions of dollars by moving its headquarters and its 1,200 workers from San Francisco to Oakland.

The nonprofit health insurer, founded in San Francisco 78 years ago, announced Wednesday it plans to leave the city for the East Bay in 2019.

Blue Shield’s lease of its current Beale Street property in San Francisco is up in two years, and the company had to make a decision, said spokesman Steve Shivinsky.

“This was a move to find a location that would allow us to save us some money,” he said.

Some companies are finding it increasingly difficult to pay San Francisco’s skyrocketing rental rates, pushed up by the tech boom. The company estimates the move will save $150 million over the 13-year lease in Oakland.


Blue Shield will occupy part of a new 24-story office tower to be developed at 601 City Center. The building is being developed by Shorenstein Realty Services and MetLife.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Blue Shield was a “strong corporate citizen” that would give a boost to the city's revitalization and add to its growing hub of health and tech companies, which include Kaiser Permanente and Pandora Media.

Blue Shield’s independent philanthropic organization, Blue Shield Foundation, will remain in San Francisco.