The company sees restoration of the 1904 building as a catalyst in revitalizing the area.
As a new $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium takes shape in the eastern stretch of downtown Minneapolis, a longstanding presence in the area is planning an ambitious expansion of its own.
Valspar Corp. said Tuesday it will spend $30 million to restore a vintage structure on S. 3rd Street that was once company headquarters. The investment will create about 135 full-time jobs.
The 87,000-square-foot brick building, built in 1904, has been vacant since the paint and coatings manufacturer moved its headquarters to 901 3rd Av. S. in the central business district three years ago. It is one of five buildings spanning about 220,000 square feet in an area of downtown Minneapolis likely poised to change when the new Vikings stadium opens in 2016. The area is home to the Metrodome and a mix of early 20th-century buildings and parking lots.
"We have the opportunity to restore a historic building that has a deep history with the city and with Valspar," said spokesman Mark Goldman. "Once it's complete, we hope it helps to revitalize the whole area."
The downtown campus, which includes research and development but not production, anchors a global network. A second flagship is in Guangzhou, China, and there are more than three dozen smaller labs worldwide. All the facilities are involved in developing new products, solving customer and manufacturing issues, developing polymers and ensuring quality, the company said.
Many of the jobs created in the Minneapolis expansion will be "high-paying," but Goldman declined to quantify salaries. "These are highly specialized scientific positions where people have advanced degrees in material science and chemistry," he said.
Renovations to the S. 3rd Street building, next to the Hiawatha light-rail line, include overhauling heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems and making structural fixes, Goldman said. The building will house laboratory, meeting and office space.
Valspar CEO Gary Hendrickson said the firm "will devote more resources toward developing differentiated coatings technologies to address the changing needs of our customers. Our scientists and researchers will have access to a best-in-class facility."
The expansion will also enable Valspar to expand partnerships with research institutions, including the University of Minnesota, the company said.
Valspar is the fifth-largest manufacturer of paints and coatings in North America, with $3.95 billion in annual revenue, and traces its beginnings to 1806. In the past three decades, it has grown rapidly due to an aggressive acquisition strategy.
Janet Moore 612-673-7752