After toying with a headquarters move for several years, Built-A-Bear Workshop announced plans to relocate its headquarters about 11 miles southeast to downtown St. Louis.
The retailer’s new headquarters will be housed at 415 S. 18th St., dubbed the Grand Central building, according to a statement from Build-A-Bear. The new headquarters will support Build-A-Bear’s efforts to expand its e-commerce, digital content creation and licensing programs, according to the statement. Build-A-Bear also plans to open a new retail store location and a Build-A-Bear Radio studio in St. Louis, as well as other “experiential concepts,” according to the statement.“We have been looking for a unique location that meets an extensive list of requirements for several years; one that would allow us to develop space that supports our strategic goals and business evolution as we pivot from an experiential retailer to a global, branded intellectual property company,” Sharon Price John, president and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, said in the statement.
Build-A-Bear expects to make the move to St. Louis in spring 2020. The company currently occupies 59,413 square feet in its Overland, Missouri, headquarters at 1954 Innerbelt Business Center Drive, according to CoStar data. It is unclear how much space Build-A-Bear will occupy at Grand Central. Lodging Hospitality
Management owns Union Station and the Grand Central building, which is 67,784 square feet. Balke Brown Transwestern is the landlord broker for the building and did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Asking office rent at Grand Central is $16.25 per square foot per year, according to CoStar data.
It is unclear how many employees will be employed at the St. Louis headquarters. Multiple media reports indicate that Build-A-Bear will employ around 200 people at its headquarters, but the company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
As part of the deal, Build-A-Bear will receive a public remission of 50% of its earnings and payroll taxes for a decade, not to exceed $4 million total, from the city of St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. City officials could not immediately be reached to confirm that report.
Build-A-Bear’s headquarters will anchor the southern end of Union Station. The former train station is in the midst of a $187 million transformation that aims to reposition Union Station as a top-tier tourist destination. Union Station is currently home to the 539-key St. Louis Union Station Hotel. The 120,000- square-foot St. Louis Aquarium is set to open in Union Station in winter 2019, and the St. Louis Wheel, a 200-foot observation wheel, is scheduled to open in the fall.
Build-A-Bear was founded in St. Louis in 1997. The company has more than 450 stores around the world. Its fiscal year 2018 revenue was $336.6 million.
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