The Travelers Companies Inc. is in negotiations to sell its pyramid-topped building in downtown St. Paul.

The company has extra space and wants to consolidate, a move that would free up some of the premium-level office space that downtown St. Paul lacks.

"For several years, we have evaluated whether to lease part, or sell, the north building," said Matt Bordonaro, spokesman for Travelers. "Our decision to potentially sell the north building is driven by the costs of operating and maintaining a facility that we are not fully occupying."

The tower is a highly recognized fixture in the St. Paul skyline and sits at a key downtown intersection.

"It's a cool-looking building, with the Travelers sign on top, that everybody's been staring at for 20 years," said Eric Rapp, the Minneapolis-St. Paul vice president of Colliers International.

Located across the street from Landmark Center, it's the newer of two campus buildings that are connected by skyway and tunnel.

Travelers, with headquarters in New York, St. Paul and Hartford, Conn., employs about 2,100 people locally, down from 2,500 as recently as 2009. Its larger Hartford office employs more than 6,000 people. The company said the sale will not affect jobs and defused concerns that the company's future in Minnesota's capital city is in jeopardy.

"St. Paul is the second-largest campus for Travelers, and we remain very connected to the local community," Bordonaro said.

He said the company has not signed an agreement with the potential buyer, but said they have a moving plan in the event of a sale.

"In anticipation of a successful conclusion of a sale, plans are in place to move people to the south building. And that would take place over a two-year time period," Bordonaro said.

As for the building's future, the real estate community remains positive. The glassy tower is classified as Class A office space, which is the highest tier in terms of quality.

"St. Paul does lack good Class A, while they have an abundance for Class B," said Pete DuFour, the local vice president of office leasing for Colliers. "You are just up at the right place of town for nice office, too. I think it's a good thing for St. Paul that they made that space available."

St. Paul's Class A vacancy hovers around 14 percent, compared with nearly 24 percent in Class B. The Travelers campus offers 1 million square feet of office space, according to Greater St. Paul Building Owners & Managers Association data.

Built in 1991, the tower is the visual center of a busy parcel triangulated by St. Peter Street, W. 6th Street and W. 7th Street. The famous Mickey's Diner sits near the base of the building.

Travelers was formed through a merger of the St. Paul Companies and Travelers Property Casualty Corp. in 2004, when it was renamed St. Paul Travelers. That name lasted until 2007 when it was then changed to the Travelers Companies Inc. The company is ranked 114th among the Fortune 500 companies in 2014.

Kristen Leigh Painter • 612-673-4767