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DES MOINES, IOWA — Tuesday, July 9, 2024 — The City of Des Moines is taking another important step toward the 2026 move to its future home – T.M. Franklin Cownie City Administration Building – the former Nationwide building at 1200 Locust Street.

Staff and consulting architects have been working to refine designs that will consolidate government operations and make the five-story building accessible, efficient and functional for employees and residents. The improvements identify plans for interior demolition that will occur this fall with renovation and construction scheduled for 2025. Residents can learn more about this stage of preparing the building in the recent City Facility Expansion Phase 1 Improvements presentation to the Des Moines City Council.

The improvement plans will drive renovations of 155,000 square feet of interior space on levels 1-5 of the eastern half of the H-shaped building with new public meeting spaces, a new Customer Service Hub and the integration of several administrative departments. Other benefits for residents will be the building’s connection to the Downtown Skywalk and the larger and more accessible City Council Chamber and facilities for other City boards and commissions.

When Phase I is complete, the renovated facility will accommodate new public meeting spaces and 10 City departments that are currently spread out between the Argonne Armory, City Hall, Polk County River Place, and Municipal Service Center (MSC1). The building is expected to house approximately 360 staff positions within the following departments:

  • City Clerk’s Office
  • City Manager’s Office
  • Civil and Human Rights
  • Development Services
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Neighborhood Services

Plans for the future relocation of the Police Department to the building’s western half of the building are targeted for Phase II with a timeline to be determined.

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A key feature of the facility will be enhancing services for residents with the new Customer Service Hub that will consolidate eight transaction windows that are currently located in four different City buildings. Deputy City Manager Matt Anderson said the service hub concept will allow residents who need to purchase permits, licenses and other services, to perform those transactions at a one-stop-shop designed with service lobbies and kiosk counters.

“When people visit us in the future, they’ll come to one place, and we’ll have the staff here to help them through their process. We’ll go from eight transaction windows to one centralized service area to make it easier and more efficient to do business with the City,” Anderson said.

City Council approved the $30 million purchase price of the buildling in September of 2022 and authorized the feasibility study in December 2022.  The purchase price for the 360,000-square-foot building came in at less than $90 per square-foot, well below the market rate for new construction of office space in Des Moines which is currently estimated between $300-400 per square-foot. Additionally, the $10.6 million purchase price of the 1200 Mulberry parking garage is below current cost estimates for similar new construction.

OPN Architects is the consulting firm on the design and renovation of the building, while McGough Construction is the construction manager.

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