Jan 26, 2024 - Real Estate

Downtown's oldest office building is sold

A photo of The Hawkeye Insurance Building in Des Moines.

The Hawkeye Insurance Company Building was designed by William Foster, a prominent architect in the 1800s. Photo: Courtesy of the Polk County Assessor

The 156-year-old Hawkeye Insurance Company Building was sold last week for $1.6M.

Why it matters: It's the oldest office building in downtown Des Moines, according to the Polk County Assessor's office.

  • New owner Jake Trerotola is considering making minor changes to increase its functionality, he tells Axios.

Of note: The building currently has bars and a salon in its commercial space.

Flashback: The Hawkeye was the first successful local casualty insurance company, according to documents for the building's successful application to the National Register of Historic Places.

  • The insurance company was organized by Ebenezer Ingersoll, a local 1800s attorney.

Zoom in: The building has multiple additions, including a two-story annex constructed in 1871.

  • The structure was converted into a hotel in the early 1900s and largely used for apartments by the 1960s.

Driving the news: Metro businessman Bruce Gerleman, who renovated the building in the 1980s, sold it this month for $1.6 million, Trerotola says.

  • The Bomb Bar will likely expand its footprint in the building in coming months. The upper floors will remain apartments, per Trerotola.

The intrigue: Some of the upper floor space might eventually become a rooftop restaurant but that's likely years down the road.

  • "I'm not trying to rewrite history," Trerotola says.

1 fun thing to go: Trerotola, 30, is also a musician and the son of retired KCCI-TV anchor Cynthia Fodor.


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