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Northeast Utilities Becomes Fourth Hartford-Based Company On Fortune 500 List


August 18, 2009

HARTFORD - Northeast Utilities joined a short list Monday: Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in Connecticut's capital.

The utility, previously based in nearby Berlin, where almost 1,800 employees remain, has transferred its top executives to renovated offices at 56 Prospect St., a property it bought from The Phoenix Cos. last December for $8.7 million.

About 170 NU employees, including Chief Executive Charles Shivery, made the 16-mile move to Hartford.

Although their arrival does not increase the utility's net employment in the state, which remains about 4,000, it raises NU's profile in the state capital, where legislators and regulators with the power to affect its businesses work.

"It's a beautiful, prime location for the company and one that's very, very visible," company spokesman Al Lara said. "We had visibility, but that was in Berlin."

The move also puts another feather in the cap of a city that could use a few more.

"The concentration of Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies in an area gives you a little more pizazz," said R. Nelson "Oz" Griebel, president of the MetroHartford Alliance, the region's chamber of commerce. The higher the concentration of corporate offices, he said, the easier it becomes to attract retail stores and residents downtown.

NU ranked No. 424 on the Fortune 500 in 2009. The other Fortune 500 companies with Hartford headquarters are United Technologies Corp., Aetna and The Hartford.

UTC, which has its world headquarters in the Gold Building at 1 Financial Plaza, ranks highest on the list, at No. 37. Aetna and The Hartford rank 77 and 287, respectively.

The Travelers Cos., No. 99, is prominent in downtown Hartford but its principal executive offices are in New York.

In all, 11 Fortune 500 companies have headquarters in Connecticut, according to the 2009 list. Fairfield-based General Electric ranked highest, at No. 5.

NU said last September that it would move to Hartford, after briefly considering an expansion of its Berlin campus. The headquarters of its major subsidiaries, Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas, remain there.

NU's new building includes 93,000 square feet of office space and 143,000 square feet overall, including 100 parking spaces. The company also plans to open a walk-in customer service center there. It has not opened yet.

The building's previous occupant was Virtus Investment Partners Inc., a former unit of The Phoenix Cos.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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