Portland's Keen footwear is putting down permanent roots.

Having occupied 30,000 square feet of leased space in the Pearl District for the past six years, the company on Monday announced the purchase of a 50,000-square-foot office building just three blocks away, at Northwest 13th Avenue and Glisan Street.

'We're all about living a hybrid life, having space for the community to come in, being a 'recess hub;' we want to make sure people get active, outside,' says Linda Balfour, Keen marketing manager. 'The new building enables us to have all those spaces in a bigger way.'

Employees were told about the move Monday morning. Renovations are starting and the move is slated for the end of the year.

Balfour says the five-story building was purchased at auction during the weekend, although Keen had been looking for a permanent space to grow into for the past two to three years.

The new building will house a ground-floor retail space (about 6,000 square feet), a lower-level recreation room (6,000 square feet), and four floors of office space (approximately 10,000 square feet each).

The company grew from 40 employees in 2006 to its current 150. A new factory in North Portland added 35 employees.

Customers to the Keen retail store (aka 'Garage'), downstairs from the company offices, will see a new store about three times the size. The store is so tiny that rows of giant re-purposed rotisseries slowly rotate the shoes on display and boxes are stocked overhead on wire racks.

'At KEEN we're always trying to repurpose for a purpose and this is one example of how we are converting that vision into a reality,' said Chief Executive Officer James Curleigh. 'It represents a sizable investment for KEEN; a long-term investment in our brand, our place and our people.'

Contract Publishing

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