Jan 30, 2023 - Business

Des Moines facing a downtown employee exodus

A photo of Wells Fargo buildings.

Wells Fargo will vacate its building at 206 8th St. (left) and 800 Walnut St. in downtown DSM this year. Photos courtesy of the Polk County Assessor

Des Moines is reeling after multiple announcements last week that signal potentially thousands of employees leaving downtown offices.

Why it matters: They setbacks to decades of efforts and billions of dollars in investments to revive downtown come as city advocates tout recovery news.

State of play: Downtown foot traffic has rebounded to 83% from 2020 of 2019's pre-pandemic numbers, Tiffany Tauscheck, president of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, announced last week.

  • And the City Council approved incentives last week for a $56 million housing project.

Between the lines: The total number of downtown employee losses are still unknown.

  • Wells Fargo is consolidating most of its roughly 12,000 metro employees to its Jordan Creek Campus in West Des Moines but hasn't announced how many are currently downtown.

What they're saying: DSM has long bragged about its 80,000-person downtown workforce, Greg Edwards, president of Catch Des Moines, tells Axios.

  • The job losses will have impacts on restaurants, entertainment venues and the general vibrancy of the area, he says. .

What we're watching: The city will work with its community partners and fill Wells Fargo's void, Cownie said in his Friday statement.

A photo of a Wells Fargo building in West Des Moines.
Wells Fargo is also vacating this building at 7001 Westown Parkway in WDSM. Photo: Google maps
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