3M Co. is on the hunt for office space in downtown St. Paul, people who work with properties the company is considering said Wednesday.

The Maplewood-based company has been recently shopping for as much as 60,000 square feet that could encourage collaborative and creative work, the representatives of the properties said. They did not want to be identified for fear of risking business relationships.

A 3M spokesperson acknowledged a request for comment Wednesday but gave no further details.

“We are jazzed” if accounts of the search are true, said Brenda Kyle, president of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

The company is one of the largest employers in suburban St. Paul and has long been associated with the city. It currently has some workers at the CoCo co-working space in Lowertown.

A major employer like 3M would be a welcomed addition to downtown St. Paul, which has suffered from high office vacancy rates and is now seeing an upswing in office leasing.

Several downtown buildings are being repositioned and renovated to offer potential tenants like 3M reasons to work in St. Paul. The former Ecolab building, which is now being called the Osborn370, was recently sold to a group of investors who are updating the space and have already had several companies sign leases.

The 428, the old Woolworth building, is being redeveloped for modern office space. Treasure Island Center, the former Macy’s, will also offer new office space.

More space may be coming in St. Paul as two financial-service firms downsize their staffs. Ditech Financial LLC, which has space in Landmark Towers, is in the process of laying off about 117 employees.

Synchrony Financial, which has space in the First National Bank Building, has told state regulators it plans to lay off 93 workers.

Twitter: @nicolenorfleet