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Aetna Reportedly Backing Out Of Manhattan HQ After CVS Takeover

61 Ninth Ave. in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, as of September

One of the biggest mergers in American history may have thrown a major real estate and job deal into limbo.

Aetna is no longer moving its corporate headquarters from Hartford, Connecticut, to 61 Ninth Ave. in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, Crain's New York Business reports. The health insurance giant had agreed to a 145K SF lease at the Vornado- and Aurora Capital Associates-owned building, but is apparently reconsidering all of its real estate activity as it reorganizes in the wake of its acquisition by CVS.

The lease has already been finalized, which means that Aetna is still on the hook for the entire office portion of the under-construction office building. With an asking rent of $150/SF, among the highest in the city, it behooves the company to get something for its money.

"All Aetna locations will be evaluated during the integration planning process," a company spokesman said in a statement to Crain's.

The New York City Economic Development Corp. has rescinded a planned $9.6M incentive package, predicated on Aetna moving 250 high-level employees and investing $84M at 61 Ninth, according to Crain's. Empire State Development Corp. had offered $24M in tax breaks spread over 10 years for the move, but they were attached to performance incentives. That agreement is still in place, since no money will be paid until Aetna makes a decision on the building.