AUSTIN, Minn., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) today released an architectural drawing and details involving new offices and a planned SPAM(TM) museum and visitor's center in downtown Austin. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19991129/MNM004 ) In February, the multinational marketer of meat and food products announced the purchase of the former Kmart building along North Main Street. The structure, located on 4.7 acres, has been vacated and not used as a retail store since 1991. With the acquisition completed, Hormel Foods is moving forward with plans for a comprehensive renovation of both the building and grounds. The exterior of the 76,800 square foot building will incorporate an "old market" design featuring an attractive brick facade and decorative window awnings. Extensive on-site landscaping will include the planting of a variety of trees, shrubs and plants. The building's interior will be remodeled to accommodate a new SPAM(TM) and Hormel Foods museum and visitor's center, to be located on the north side, as well as office space for company employees and departments. The planned 16,550 square foot museum and visitor's center replaces the current and much smaller SPAM(TM) and Hormel Foods museum at OakPark Mall which has only 1,000 square feet and consists of just 500 artifacts and historical photographs. The greatly expanded museum area will include interactive video screens and kiosks as well as a planned history walk with exhibits and displays which follow the company's progression from its founding in 1891. A state-of-the- art auditorium, accommodating 100 people, is designed to allow for corporate video presentations to visiting tour bus groups who will also have the option of enjoying specially prepared SPAMBURGER(R) hamburgers or other SPAM(R) luncheon meat specialties in an adjacent diner area. Also included in the museum complex is a large retail store facility complete with SPAM(R) and Hormel(R) logoed merchandise, including hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, watches, golf balls, glassware and countless other apparel and nonapparel items. Visitors, local and out-of-town, will be able to purchase the commemorative merchandise during normal business hours yet to be established. Installed near the entrance to the museum will be a bronze statute created to represent a country farmer delivering hogs to market. Mike Capser, Billings, Mont., rated as one of the most popular artists in 1999 by U.S. Art Magazine, has been commissioned to design and build the statute which will symbolize the company's longstanding partnership with agriculture and the farming community. The remainder of the building, which will be called Corporate Office South, will house offices for employees from the company's logistics and customer service, consumer affairs, systems, engineering, audio visual services and archives departments. Approximately 140 employees will be relocated to this facility from other Austin-based company locations. Construction work on the project is planned for early 2000. The retail area of the museum is scheduled to open in conjunction with the 10th annual SPAM(TM) JAM celebration July 1. The remainder of the museum area will open later in the year with completion of the employee offices to follow. Paulsen Architectural Design, Mankato, Minn., is the primary architectural and design firm assisting with the project. The interior plan of the offices is being developed by Facilities Systems, Inc., Plymouth, Minn. All design and renovation work is coordinated through the Hormel Foods Engineering Division. "This new complex will not only provide Hormel Foods with much needed office space for our growing operations, but also enable us to feature the company's history and expand upon the current SPAM(TM) museum complex which attracts more than 60,000 visitors yearly," said V. Allan Krejci, vice president of public relations. "We believe the renovated building will be an eye-appealing and popular addition to the city's North Main Street area."
SOURCE Hormel Foods