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Caleres puts Clayton headquarters on the market

Caleres puts Clayton headquarters on the market

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CLAYTON — Footwear company Caleres has tapped commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield to market its Clayton headquarters on Maryland Avenue.

The company, which owns Famous Footwear, Allen Edmonds, Dr. Scholl’s and other shoe brands, said high demand for Clayton real estate and favorable office real estate pricing for tenants prompted the move to explore a sale.

“We have received unsolicited inquiries over the years for this very desirable downtown Clayton location,” Ken Hannah, chief financial officer of Caleres, said in a statement. “That demand has only increased and presents us with an opportune time to explore selling it.”

In addition, the pandemic has changed how Caleres’ roughly 700 St. Louis area employees work, and the company said it would be searching for a new “modern post-pandemic workplace.”

“Like so many other companies around the world, over the last year it became clear that our office space needs have changed,” Hannah said. “This also gives us an unprecedented opportunity to redefine our workplace and find tailored office space that meets the reality, flexibility and needs of our St. Louis associates. We will explore all options for this new space, but ideally we would like to remain in the metro St. Louis area.”

Cushman and Wakefield executive directors Tripp Hardin and Mike Hanrahan and director Matt Stephens will market the nine-acre property to developers and tenants. The site includes a 275,000-square-foot office building, a 66,005-square-foot office building at 8400 Maryland Avenue and an adjacent parking lot on Topton Way.

“This is one of the most prominent sites in the St. Louis region and Midwest and will draw intense interest from a broad range of potential buyers,” Hardin said in a statement. “Development and ownership opportunities in Clayton are scarce, to say the least, and this property’s potential is unmatched, as either a new, mixed-use development or re-tenanted, amenity-rich suburban office destination.”

The site, at the prominent corner of Maryland Avenue and Topton Way, is in the most valuable real estate market in the St. Louis area. The buildings date to the 1950s.

Caleres, which traces its St. Louis roots back to the 1870s, was known as Brown Shoe until rebranding itself in 2015. It was initially hit hard by the pandemic, which forced the closure of its Famous Footwear and other retail stores. In March 2020, it laid off 368 employees at its Clayton headquarters, though it said the layoffs were temporary. The company also said last April that its senior executives would take a ”meaningful salary reduction.”

The company’s fortunes appear to have turned as online sales are rising. Its stock price has rebounded from an early pandemic low of less than $4 per share to its early 2020 levels. It closed Friday at $23.85.

Still, Caleres posted a $439.1 million loss last year on sales of $2.1 billion. In its 2019 fiscal year, the company earned $62.8 million on sales of $2.9 billion.

Steph Kukuljan, special to the Post-Dispatch, contributed to this report.

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