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BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY-In a deal that involves a total of 60,600 sf of space, USI Holdings Corp. will relocate its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to the Briarcliff Corporate Campus here, where the firm already houses its Northeast regional operations.

Glenn Walsh, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield of Connecticut Inc., brokered the lease transaction.

USI Holdings, the eighth largest insurance brokerage firm in the US, signed a 10-year lease for 11,000 sf of space at the South Building at 555 Pleasantville Road for its corporate headquarters operations. The lease deal with the brokerage and consulting firm for the insurance and retirement and benefit services industries also encompasses an 11,000-sf hotel/conference center facility on site and the 5,600-sf Manor House property that the firm will use for entertainment purposes.

In addition, the firm signed a 10-year lease renewal for approximately 23,000 sf of space for the firm’s USI Northeast Inc., subsidiary’s regional office located at the North building on the campus property.

The Briarcliff Corporate Campus totals approximately 140,000 sf of office and meeting space. With the USI lease deal, the property is now fully leased, according to Robert Weisz, president of RPW Group of White Plains, the owner of the complex. RPW Group acquired the property from Black Acre Capital in 2001. At the time, the property, the former home of Frank B. Hall Insurance, was just 35% leased.

C&W’s Walsh said USI Holdings started looking for a new corporate headquarters last summer and was focused on the Briarcliff Corporate Campus or leased facilities in Norwalk, CT.

The company is currently in the midst of relocating its corporate headquarters staff from 50 California St. to the Briarcliff Manor property, according to Rob Schneider, executive VP and CFO for USI Holdings. The company will relocate about 10 corporate headquarters staff from California to the Briarcliff Manor site, including chairman, president and CEO David L. Eslick. Eventually, the firm envisions having about 30 people working at its corporate headquarters space. The firm’s USI Northeast operations employ approximately 90 workers at the Briarcliff Manor property. USI Holdings employs about 2,100 workers who operate out of 61 offices in 20 states.

Schneider says that the company was looking to reduce costs and found that with most of the firm’s business located on the East Coast, its executives found the frequent flights from San Francisco to New York “grueling.” The company, which went public last October, also felt that it needed to be close to Wall Street and the investment banking community, he adds.

USI Holdings, which has been attempting to improve its operating efficiencies since 2001, reported net income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2003 rose $18.8 million to $4.9 million. In the first quarter of 2002, USI Holdings recorded a loss of $13.9 million when the company incurred charges relating to acquisition integration and the pay down of debt. Revenues in the first quarter of 2003 were $82.6 million, a 6.8% increase from the same period a year earlier.

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