Many of the renovations in Minneapolis office towers recently have focused on the skyway level that passersby walk through or the upper floors that tenants share.

But the ongoing makeover of the AT&T Tower, which is on the periphery of the downtown skyway system, centers almost exclusively on the lobby and street-level experience.

“The point of all this is to refresh the first level,” said Larissa Champeau, an agent with CBRE who helps to lease the building. “We have a very large percentage of people coming in through the first floor.”

The 33-story tower, on the corner of 9th Street and Marquette Avenue, is currently in the third week of construction. In the lobby, the Emerald City-green columns that blocked a lot of the natural light are being removed to showcase the three-story-tall exterior windows.

“It has always been there, but you have never seen it because the columns were so obtrusive,” Champeau said.

Other lobby improvements include a new coffee bar, a large fireplace and several platformed seating areas decked out in light-colored furniture designed to invoke a Scandinavian feel.

The building is owned by ASB Capital Management, the former owner of Capella Tower, which went through an extensive renovation of its lobby four years ago.

In other changes at the AT&T Tower, the 20th floor conference center is being moved to underutilized space on the first floor. The 60-person conference room will be designed so it can be split into two different spaces. New bike storage will also be created on the first floor.

“It creates a buzz of activity at the base,” Champeau said. “We want to get people to stop and stay.”

The renovations were designed by Nelson and work should wrap up in September.

The AT&T Tower, which was built in 1991, is more than 80 percent occupied with main tenants AT&T, advertising agency Fallon, U.S. Bank, Varde Management and Nuveen.

At the same time as the first-floor renovation, the sixth floor of the building is being converted into short-term finished office suites and shared work space.

Similar to buildings such as Rand Tower and the Osborn370 that have experimented with managing shared workspace, the AT&T Tower has recently started to offer new options for tenants that want smaller office spaces with more flexible leases.

Several spaces with between 1,500 and 2,800 square feet are already furnished and ready to go. The floor can accommodate groups looking for 1,000 to 10,000 square feet of space on the rest of the floor. Tenants on the floor will share a lounge.

Leases that could be as short as two to three years provide an alternative to the typical longer term lease that other downtown buildings offer. Much of the space is complete and available for immediate occupancy.