One of Bluffton’s biggest employers is getting even bigger.
EviCore, a managed health care benefits firm formerly known as CareCore National, announced earlier this week plans for a $1.6 million expansion of its corporate headquarters in Buckwalter Place.
The company also plans to ramp up operations and hire 35 new employees, according to an EviCore news release.
“EviCore is proud to be a part of the Lowcountry community, and we are excited about the continued growth at our Bluffton headquarters,” company executive Elias Wahesh said in a statement.
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“We look forward to many more successful years here,” he said.
Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka said EviCore’s expansion will “add to the strength of our town as a regional hub for companies like this.”
It wasn’t always a guarantee that EviCore would keep its headquarters in Bluffton.
We look forward to many more successful years here.
EviCore executive Elias Wahesh
The company, which relocated its headquarters from New York to Bluffton in 2006, signed a five-year lease extension in May on its nearly 80,000-square-foot headquarters.
Sulka said at that time Bluffton officials worried that, when its lease expired, the company would pull up stakes and relocate, particularly in the aftermath of the recent economic recession.
Town leaders long hoped to make Buckwalter Place into a business park that would attract technology or medical industry firms — which tend to pay higher wages than the service industry — to compliment EviCore’s headquarters.
That hasn’t happened.
Rather, the town entered a public-private partnership last year with Southeastern Development Associates, which owns a large undeveloped swath of the shopping area. The developer plans to build a 113,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace surrounded by other retailers and apartments.
Wahesh said in May that the company did consider moving its headquarters prior to renewing the lease.
“We started doing some research into alternate sites,” he said. “But, ultimately, we decided that Bluffton is the best option for us.”