Des Moines Building

Pull Back

“City moves to declare downtown’s Des Moines Building a public nuisance” was the headline for the historic Art Deco low-rise skyscraper in the winter of 2011, when the City of Des Moines took possession after the previous developer defaulted. Slingshot was part of a winning proposal to buy the downtrodden office building from the city + convert it to commercial/residential space utilizing funding from a community block development grant + historic tax credits.


To win the project, we proposed ambitious amenities for commercial space with residential units above in the 14-story skyscraper. We re-envisioned the existing elevator penthouse as a private party room with access to roof decks for residents + private events. At the street level, we removed the non-historic 3-story annex building to create a new urban “pocket park” with access to the skywalk.


The project is bringing back life to this city block, converting a municipal burden into an asset for residential living + public space. Removing dark tinted storefront glass + partial infill has restored windows to full size with clear glazing for new retail + restaurant tenants. The underused skywalk connection that had been buried within rear +side alleys will now connect to the new park + street life via a stair tower that announces itself by appearing to push out of the skywalk.