After many years of being scattered across more than a dozen offices in and around Boston, Partners HealthCare’s administrative employees are coming together under one roof.
Partners, the state’s largest health system and biggest private employer, started moving workers into its new offices in Somerville’s Assembly Row complex in June, and on Wednesday it gave the media their first look at the occupied campus. About 1,200 people are now in the building, which will eventually house about 4,200.
The new office gives the 22-year-old company, parent of Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, something it has never had: a building of its own with a huge sign plainly visible from one of the state’s busiest highways.
“There’s a feeling now that the people at Partners have a home,” said Peter K. Markell, chief financial officer.
The office move includes employees in finance, information technology, legal, human resources, and other administrative departments.
Neighborhood Health Plan, Partners’ insurance arm, also will make the move. But the move does not affect thousands of others who work at the company’s hospitals.
Partners has the deepest pockets of any Massachusetts health network, and the nonprofit company spent $465 million on the building. But it expects to save $10 million to $15 million a year through reduced lease payments. It will maintain its longtime office for senior executives on the 11th floor of the Prudential Center, the halfway point between Mass. General and Brigham.
The new office is located in a bustling and still growing mixed-use development alongside Interstate 93 and the Mystic River. In December 2013, when the company announced its decision, it was slammed by then Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino for choosing Somerville over a site in Boston. Menino wanted Partners to develop its campus in Roxbury.
Given the size of the building, with 13 floors totaling 825,000 square feet, it seems unlikely that Partners could have found a plot of land in Boston that was big enough. Markell said the company explored options in Boston before choosing Somerville.
“We made our best efforts to find a location in the city, but when you put together cost and availability and transportation and what was best for our employees, this was by far the best site,” Markell said after leading a tour of the building.
The campus includes a 2,000-car parking garage and is right next to the new Assembly stop on the Orange Line.
Like so many new offices, it has an open layout with low cubicle walls — Partners calls them “workstations” — and is almost completely devoid of private offices. There is one office for the chief executive, Dr. David Torchiana, but he is expected to continue spending most of his time at the Prudential.
The transition to open office layouts has been challenging for employees at many companies, including Partners, especially for the hundreds of people moving from private offices to cubicles.
“It will take getting used to,” said Dani Monroe, chief diversity and inclusion officer, whose cubicle is next to a busy intersection on the building’s sixth floor. But Monroe said she has enjoyed the added face time with colleagues.
“The real value of this building is it enhances communication between colleagues and promotes relationships,” she said.
The building also includes hundreds of private rooms where employees can meet in small groups and scribble ideas on white boards, or sit in quiet to take phone calls. There are chairs and couches alongside big windows where employees can take in the views of the Boston skyline, the Mystic River, and the many shops at Assembly Row.
The first seven floors of the 13-story building, built by Suffolk Construction, are complete, with the rest scheduled to be finished later this year. The parking garage eventually will host an array of rooftop solar panels expected to supply about 30 percent of the energy used on the campus.