Sep 9, 2022 - News

Des Moines to buy former Nationwide building, consolidate city offices

Nationwide's building at 1200 Locust St. was constructed in 2007. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Des Moines plans to buy Nationwide's vacant building, located at 1200 Locust St., to consolidate most city offices into one space, deputy city manager Matthew Anderson tells Axios.

Why it matters: The deal would enable the city to scrap plans to build new offices, which would save millions of dollars in construction costs, Anderson said in a city video.

  • DSM's government would operate more efficiently by centralizing its operations, including police, neighborhood services and information technology, he said.

Catch up fast: Nationwide Mutual Insurance announced in 2020 that most of the 372,000-square-foot building was for lease because of a work-from-home transition.

  • That space remains empty.

Driving the news: On Monday, DSM City Council will consider the purchase of the five-story Nationwide building for $30 million, Anderson said.

  • A nearly 1,700-space parking ramp located south of the building and connected to the city's skywalk system will cost another $10.6 million, he said.
Photos of Des Moines city buildings.
The Des Moines Police headquarters, 25 E. 1st St., and the Argonne Armory building, 602 Robert D. Ray Drive will be vacated and redeveloped under a plan being considered by the city of Des Moines. Photos courtesy of the city of DSM

Details: The deal is likely to result in the sale of the Argonne Armory building as well as the police headquarters, two historic downtown buildings that can be redeveloped and generate economic development, Anderson said.

  • The future of city hall is still unknown but it could also be redeveloped following further review, he said.

State of play: City officials have, for years, contemplated how to deal with the need for a larger, upgraded law enforcement center as well as deferred renovations and overcrowding at the nearly 90-year-old Armory.

  • Construction of a $36.5 million administration annex is budgeted over the next three years to replace the Armory. A new police station — which isn't yet budgeted — would likely cost more than $100 million, Anderson said.

Yes, but: Both the annex and new police headquarters project will be scrapped if the Nationwide deal is approved.

What they're saying: Nationwide spokesperson Ryan Ankrom confirmed to Axios the company’s plan to sell the building and parking garage to the city.

  • Nationwide has consolidated its offices into the adjacent building at 1100 Locust St. and "remains fully committed to Des Moines," he said.

What's next: The city will hire an architectural firm in coming months to develop a plan and estimate costs to relocate into the empty Nationwide building, Anderson said.

  • The building sale could be completed as early as the second quarter of 2023 and the parking garage by the end of 2025.
  • The move could take several years to complete but some offices could transition to the new location in the next year.
A photo of Des Moines City Hall.
The future of Des Moines' 112-year-old City Hall is uncertain under a plan to consolidate most city offices into the former Nationwide building. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios
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