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ST. PAUL, MN—In an attempt to fill more than 200,000 sf of vacant space that will pop up when its new office building in Downtown St. Paul is ready in mid-October, Minnesota Life said it would agree to lease space in its current headquarters building across the street. In its search for tenants, Minnesota Life will agree to lease space not just in its new 635,000-sf 401 Robert building, but also at its 375,000-sf headquarters building at 400 Robert. It will even consider offering space at its 132,000-sf Lafayette Center building in Lowertown.

“We don’t consider our campus a monolithic entity,” Minnesota Life spokeswomen Maggie Jensen told GloteSt.com. Given its growth pattern, Minnesota Life eventually plans to occupy all the space in the 400 and 401 buildings. Until it is big enough to occupy the buildings, plans were to lease the extra space in its new building to outside tenants and hired Welsh Cos. as its leasing agent. If a prospective tenant is interested in space at the 400 building (now filled with Minnesota Life employees), which is less expensive than the new 401 building, Minnesota Life would likely try to accommodate them, Jensen says. Likewise, if a prospect were interested in its Lafayette Center, the company would consider a deal. But Jensen adds that the leasing strategy currently is focused on the 401 and 400 buildings, which need to fill from 200,000 sf to 250,000 sf.

Minnesota Life plans to open its new 401 Robert building on Oct. 18 to coincide with the debut of the new skyway connection to the building; originally, it planned to delay moving into the building until January 2001. That means the retail shops on the bottom floors and the underground parking ramp have to be ready to go then, too.

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