Thirty-one businesses announced expansions in the third quarter -- news that is expected to create 1,500 jobs in "coming years," according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The news will have a definite impact on the state's market for office space.

Sixteen of the projects are located in the Twin Cities metro area, while 15 businesses expanded outstate.

All told, 112 businesses throughout the state announced expansions during the first three quarters of the year, creating 5,600 jobs in the next two years, DEED said.

Among the businesses that announced plans to expand in the third quarter:

Shutterfly Inc is building a $60 million manufacturing facility in Shakopee that will employ nearly 330 people.

Cowgirl Tuff Co. is building a $1.8 million headquarters and warehouse in Cokato.

Slalom Consulting, a Seattle-based tech firm, recently opened a Minneapolis office with plans to hire 300 people over the next five years.

DEED said it played a role in 14 of the business expansions announced during the third quarter. Shutterfly, Cowgirl and Slalom all received assistance from the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF), which Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature expanded last session.

WFSI Inc., based in Sauk Rapids, is acquiring an existing building in the city for expansion. With a focus on critical welding projects, the company provides manufacturing and engineering services for the energy and defense industries. The expansion is expected to create 32 new jobs over the next two years, and was aided by $1 million in infrastructure funding.

Viracon, an architectural glass manufacturer, is working on a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing facility in Owatonna. The $30 million project should help retain between 500 and 800 existing jobs in the city and open by August 2014. Viracon’s received a $200,000 MIF grant.

Anoka-based Patriot Converting, a paper product manufacturer, plans to build a new $6 million manufacturing facility in Ramsey. The 77,000-square-foot expansion is expected to result in 10 to 15 new jobs once completed. Patriot Converting received $150,000 in assistance from the state to expand its operations.

Among other projects on the list: Proto Labs is adding 100 jobs in Plymouth; Datacard Group is adding 150 jobs in Shakopee; TSI Inc. is adding 200 jobs in Shoreview; and Doherty Staffing is adding 120 jobs in the Alexandria area.

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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