DES MOINES, Iowa — The City Hall in Des Moines may be moving to a new location sometime in the next few years. The City has completed an agreement to purchase the 1200 Locust Nationwide Insurance Building for $30 million dollars.
The building has been vacant for two years after Nationwide had no more need for the call center it had located there. So when the City learned it was available, they began to check into it.
“This would really solve a lot of our problems under one roof,” said Deputy City Manager Matt Anderson. “We’ve got people scattered all around the city at, River Place Polk County’s building we got a couple departments up there, we got departments in our Municipal Service Center that weren’t intended to be there.”
The plan is to move City Hall to 1200 Locust, along with the Police Department, and city offices now located in the Armory as well.
“When this came on the market for lease, that Nationwide didn’t need it anymore, we inquired if they would consider selling it,” said Anderson. “We have a purchase agreement ready for council to review on Monday night.”
The City has looked at replacing the Armory and the police station with new buildings. The police station could cost from $100 million to even as high as $200 million dollars. Anderson looks at this effort to combine departments at 1200 Locust as a way to save money in the long run.
“The cost is $90 a square foot, building an office building today is anywhere from $300-$500 a square foot,” said Anderson. “We’re going to have some improvements to make, but we’re going to stay well under the cost of building something new.”
Anderson said the police station would be a phased-in move. He also said they don’t plan to forget East Village where buildings would be vacated, and maybe developed for new uses.
“This project will add more everyday foot traffic to the west side of Downtown, and open up opportunities for creative development on the east side of the river,” said Tiffany Tauschek, of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Downtown Alliance. “We look forward to seeing what the future holds as this process plays out.”
A statement from Nationwide pointed out that the 1000 remaining workers at another downtown building are not going anywhere. The company employs 3000 workers in Iowa.
“Nationwide remains fully committed to Des Moines. 1100 Locust Street continues to be a key facility for us, and we have no plans to vacate that building.”
The City Council will be presented with the proposal Monday night. If they approve, city leaders hope to be moving into a new City Hall sometime in 2024.