DES MOINES, IOWA — Leaders with the City of Des Moines have locked in a major land purchase that will result in a new home for City Hall and the Des Moines Police Department. The shuffling of spaces in downtown Des Moines was approved by the Des Moines City Council on Monday evening, set to bring change to the East Village in 2024.
“Relocating employees to 1200 Locuts is going to free up some real estate here on the river,” said Matt Anderson, Deputy City Manager of Des Moines.
The council approved a $30 million purchase of the former Nationwide Insurance building by a vote of 6-1 with the only no vote coming from Des Moines Councilmember Indira Sheumaker.
City staff in the Armory Building and the Police Department will move west in the city. The city plans to listen to proposals from business developers for both of those sites once the move is complete.
“We’re not coming in blind,” said Anderson. “We know the developers are interested. When this story broke on Friday, our phone was already ringing.”
The city will be selling the lot across the street from City Hall as well. The initial intentions were to build a smaller Armory Building there and renovate the Police Station. Anderson said that when exploring the costs five years ago, the smaller Armory was estimated around $36 million, and the new Police Station sat at $140 million.
“I think it’s probably easy to say that both of those costs would be doubled,” said Anderson.
By purchasing the old Nationwide office, the city moves the bulk of the staff closer together and frees up valuable real estate by the river, at a cheaper price.
The parking enterprise will purchase two of Nationwide’s parking garages for staff and allow public parking in those space as well, with a total of 1,690 spots available.
There will be a nine-month due diligence process where the architectural planning and organize the financing. Employees from the Armory will be phased in first in 2024, followed by the Police Department years later.
City Hall will still hold council meetings, if the council pleases, and serve the same purpose.