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HARTFORD, CT-Travelers Insurance has signed lease deals for more than 720,000 sf Downtown, which has caused the district’s office vacancy rate to drop by 2%.

Jones Lang LaSalle reports it completed leases with Travelers totaling more than 560,000 sf at three Downtown Hartford buildings. The deals at State House Square, Cityplace 1 and 50-58 State St., which are all owned by Aetna, are valued at more than $56 million.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Shawn McMahon, vice president; Christopher Ostop, leasing director and Michael Plausse, regional manager, represented Aetna. Travelers’ in-house personnel negotiated for the insurance company.

In addition to the deals at the Aetna properties, Travelers has also leased approximately 80,000 sf of space at 1 Constitution Plaza (owned by Capital Properties of New York City) and 80,000 sf at 242 Trumbull St., in Downtown Hartford, McMahon says.

In terms of its lease commitments at the Aetna properties, McMahon says that Travelers signed long- and short-term leases totaling 300,000 sf at the State House Square tower complex, which totals approximately 848,000 sf. The leases at State House Square also included Travelers taking occupancy of the entire 50-58 State Street property (80,000 sf) that links the two State House Square tower buildings. In addition, Jones Lang LaSalle brokered Travelers’ lease renewal of approximately 260,000 sf at Cityplace 1, a 900,000 sf, 38-story Downtown property.

He notes that the ongoing renovation program at the Travelers Plaza Building in Hartford necessitated the Travelers requirements.

The lease deals by Travelers has provided a shot in the arm to the Hartford market, which has seen a slowdown in leasing activity in the past few months as have many other areas across the US, McMahon notes.

“This involves a half a million sf (in new lease deals) of space off the market. This is a huge deal,” he adds.

To put the deal in perspective, he says that transactions involving new leased space secured by Travelers constitute approximately 10% of the overall Downtown Hartford office market, which totals about six million sf. “It caused the vacancy rate to decrease by 2%,” he says. The Downtown Hartford office vacancy rate now stands at 9.75%.

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