By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Michelle Pedigo, a regional vice president of MetLife, recalled that when she first walked into the insurance giant’s Bay Ridge office in 2007, she was less than impressed with the décor. “I thought, ‘Can we get new carpeting?’” she said. Pedigo’s wish has come true…and then some.
The MetLife building at 15 Bay Ridge Avenue, a mainstay of the Bay Ridge community since the mid-1960s, was recently renovated and redesigned. The results were unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the building on April 11. “It’s good to come back home. This place is gorgeous!” Pedigo said, adding that the reopening demonstrates the firm’s “new commitment to serve the people of Brooklyn.”
Dom Iorio, the managing director, said the two-story building has housed the MetLife offices for 46 years. The building is formally known as the Bridge Financial Group Office of MetLife. The company handles much more than insurance these days. MetLife offers a wide array of financial services including individual retirement accounts and annuities.
“We are really so proud to be housed in this building,” Iorio said. Seventy-six financial advisors work in the building, handling the finances of 100,000 clients, according to Iorio, who said MetLife as a whole will surpass $1 billion in assets under management this year.
The ceremony actually included two ribbon cutting events. An indoor celebration took place in a conference room. Following that, everyone walked out onto the street in front of the building to cut a second ribbon.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (MetLife is a chamber member) attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and congratulated Iorio and the employees on the new start.
Golden praised MetLife for maintaining an office in Bay Ridge. “You guys took a leap in some of the toughest financial times we’ve had. Years ago, you wouldn’t think of coming to Brooklyn to do business,” he said. “Now, Brooklyn is better than ever,” he added.
Scissura was impressed by what he saw. “All of you are the future off the borough. There is great diversity in this room,” he said, noting that the MetLife office employs people of all races and nationalities.
MetLife was established in 1879. Its first office was located in Williamsburg.