John Hancock Is Prepping for a Back Bay Homecoming, but Not to the Iconic Tower

The insurance company is leaving its Seaport office.

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John Hancock and Boston’s Back Bay are inextricably linked. Close your eyes and picture the iconic neighborhood. What do you see? Is it an enormous, reflective razor-blade of a building slicing through the sky, atop historic brownstones and churches? Of course it is.

Now, since 2015, we’re technically not supposed to refer to the sky-scraping landmark as the “Hancock Tower” anymore, but let’s be honest: We all still do.

The Boston insurance company shed some of its Back Bay cred in the mid-2000’s, when it relocated its headquarters to the just-about-to-become-red-hot Seaport district. Then, in 2015, the tower was officially renamed “200 Clarendon” by owner Boston Properties.

But now, John Hancock is coming home. The company is gearing up for a Back Bay homecoming, according to a memo its CEO sent to staff this week that was obtained by the Boston Business Journal. It will return more than 1,000 employees to the neighborhood by the end of the year, and will soon be putting its Seaport digs on the market.

The employees will not, however, be heading to the glass skyscraper. Instead, they will join their counterparts at 197 Clarendon and 200 Berkeley, where more than 2,000 other employees work currently.

Selling in the Seaport could be a boon for the company. Now that it has neighbors like Amazon, GE, and others, and as buyers are willing to pay a hefty price to be where the action is, Hancock can capitalize on a surely lucrative opportunity to sell or lease. It hasn’t been decided which it will do.

“In addition to helping us reduce overall real estate costs associated with keeping two buildings and investing those savings in our growing business, this decision will help us shape an office that better reflects a modern workforce’s true footprint,” CEO Marianne Harrison wrote in the Tuesday memo. “Working together as a team is crucial to our success, and I’m confident this move will help us build a stronger culture, deepen engagement, and better serve our customers.”

This isn’t the only love the signature-emblazoned company is showing for the neighborhood. Hancock has also been given approval to build a big, 26-story glass building. Does it look like a giant Keurig machine? Maybe. But it’ll also be back in the Back Bay.