Elephant finds new stomping ground

Elephant Insurance will move into Deep Run I. Photo courtesy of CBRE|Richmond.

Elephant Insurance is moving its headquarters and adding about 25,000 square feet of space. Photo courtesy of CBRE|Richmond.

Locally-based Elephant Insurance is moving to a new headquarters, relocating from the East Shore Office Park in northwestern Henrico to the former Circuit City complex.

The auto insurer is subleasing 54,000 square feet at Deep Run I at 9950 Mayland Drive from current tenant Allianz Global Assistance with plans to move in December. It will vacate its current space at 140 Eastshore Drive.

The move will increase Elephant’s total Richmond office space by about 25,000 square feet, allowing the company to add about 250 new employees over the next few years, according to a press release Monday from CBRE | Richmond. Elephant currently has about 350 local employees.

“Our business growth has been strong the past few years, and we expect that to continue,” Elephant CFO Tim MacAleese said in a prepared statement. “Our growth means lots of new jobs in the Richmond area – as our customer base continues to grow so does our need for talented employees.”

Representatives at Elephant could not be reached for comment.

Allianz, formerly known as Mondial Assistance, leased the first four floors of Deep Run I in May 2011, three years after Circuit City’s collapse and one year after Pruitt Associates and a group of local investors bought the 306,000-square-foot building.

Allianz leased an additional floor in November 2011, but listed the 54,000 square feet for sublease less than a year later. Allianz laid off nearly 140 employees shortly after putting the space up for sublease.

Scott Durham, a broker with CBRE | Richmond, represented Elephant in the Deep Run lease. JLL brokers Charlie Polk and Jimmy Appich handled the sublease on Allianz’s behalf.

None of the brokers involved in the deal could be reached for comment.

Mark Douglas of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer helped broker the sale of Deep Run I in 2010.

The growing insurance company, he said, will need Deep Run’s expansive parking lot to house its workforce.

“It’s a very, very nice building with terrific owners and terrific management, and it makes a lot of sense because Elephant has some unusual requirements,” Douglas said. “Their parking requirements put an extreme amount of pressure on the building (at East Shore).”

Deep Run I, along with next-door neighbor Deep Run III, housed the Circuit City headquarters before the electronics retailer went under in 2008, leaving both buildings empty.

Deep Run III has also refilled in the last year or so, adding Travelers Insurance, Essex Bank, Digital Benefit Advisors, Appendix R Solutions, Acision and most recently Yount Hyde & Barbour to its tenant roster. That building still has about 190,000 square feet of available space. It is owned by local private equity firm Markel | Eagle Partners.

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