It's official: Cray Inc. is moving more than 200 employees to downtown St. Paul.
After months of speculation, the supercomputer company signed a 10 1/2-year lease last week for 51,100 square feet of space at Galtier Plaza.
The space is being fixed up for the company, and a move-in date is anticipated sometime in November, said Cray spokesman Nick Davis.
About 225 employees who work in development, service, sales, marketing and administration will be moving from offices in Mendota Heights. Cray's headquarters are in Seattle.
"We're excited to be a part of the St. Paul community," Davis said. "It has a lot to offer our employees and our customers."
He said nearby amenities and transportation options helped seal the deal.
Galtier sits on the west end of Mears Park in Lowertown. New eating and drinking establishments have recently popped up in the area, and the Central Corridor light-rail line is on track to roll through nearby in a few years. A St. Paul Saints ballpark is being discussed for Lowertown, as well.
Mayor Chris Coleman said he is excited that the company chose St. Paul.
"A company like Cray has a lot of options, and we worked very, very hard to answer questions and help them out," Coleman said.
One thing that helped lure the company was a $400,000 forgivable loan, approved in May by the City Council acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).
The five-year loan, for furniture and equipment, comes from the HRA's Strategic Investment Fund, which is funded by property taxes. The interest rate is 4.25 percent.
Each yearly loan payment will be forgiven if Cray keeps 200 full-time downtown jobs and pays a livable hourly wage, defined by the city as $13.78. The average Cray employee makes $48 per hour, according to an HRA staff report.
City officials have said the addition of Cray to downtown will benefit St. Paul in many ways, from the new jobs to more spending at restaurants. They said about 700 more hotel rooms a year will be filled by vendors and clients, from Boeing to the Department of Defense, visiting Cray.
The company was formed in 2000 when Tera Computer Co., based in Seattle, acquired Cray Research, which was based in Eagan, and changed its name to Cray Inc.
Cray Research was originally founded in the 1970s in Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Chris Havens • 612-673-4148