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Shoe employees get about 36,000 new feet

Red Wing Shoe Co. will be adding more than 36,000 square feet of office space in the coming weeks.

Red Wing Shoe Co. will be adding more than 36,000 square feet of office space in the coming weeks.

In two separate moves, the Shoe leased about 11,000 square feet of space in the Indigo Building, 325 Main St., and renovated about 25,000 square feet in Plant 1, on the edge of downtown, Shoe spokesman Peter Engel said.

The Indigo Building will be home to the Shoe's Vasque brand.

"We want Vasque to have their own space," Engel said. "We want to treat them separately because they're in such a different category than our work boot business."

The Vasque brand -- which carries outdoor and hiking boots -- is the least associated with the Red Wing Shoe brand, Engel said. Vasque packaging and boots don't carry Red Wing logos, he added.

"Vasque ... wanted to be outside the shadow of Red Wing (Shoes)," he said.

The space that Vasque is taking over previously housed the Indigo Room, which functioned as a meeting space. The division also will take over some additional space on the building's third floor. Few renovations are needed.

"It's in great shape. It's more us moving our furniture in than anything else," Engel said.

The new space will house 14 employees, some of which are new hires and some who are currently working out of Shoe headquarters in Riverfront Center. They will be moving in in July, Engel said.

"We wanted them separate but still connected (to the Shoe)," Engel said. "Having its own separate space is helpful."

The Indigo Building is across Main Street from the Riverfront Center and just down the street from the Shoe's flagship store.

Carolyn Hedin, owner of Indigo Properties and the Indigo Building, said that her company is excited to have Vasque housed there.

"We are so eager to welcome Vasque footwear into the Indigo Building," she said. "They are a great company and we are proud to be a part of their expansion in downtown Red Wing."

The Indigo Room will be recreated in the Indigo Building's main level later this year.

Meanwhile, the Shoe also recently renovated about 25,000 square feet in Plant 1, which is located on the south side of downtown.

That space will house about 60 employees, mainly those who work on the supply chain, in engineering or product development. Previously, those employees had been scattered throughout the Shoe's buildings. Engel said some were based in the St. James Hotel, some were at the Riverfront Center and some were working out of Plant 2, which is in the Industrial park.

Work began on Plant I in late 2012. The space has served in several functions in recent years, Engel said, including warehouse and office space. Most recently, it's been vacant.

Renovations included mechanical updates, heating and air conditioning and adding new kitchens, Engel said. The Shoe contracted with local companies -- Red Wing Construction, Pomerleau Electric, Glenn Klair Plumbing & Heating and River City Flooring -- for the work.

The renovations were contained to the one-story portion of the plant on the south and east side of the building.

"We still have more space to remodel if we need it," Engel said.

The color palette and furnishings of the new space will look "very much the same" as the Shoe's headquarters, Engel said.

"There's definitely the same feel and vibe from the spaces," he said.

Engel said finishing touches are being done now. The Shoe has a target date of May 29 for the employees to see the new space, with employees moving in sometime thereafter.

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.