Speedy and Successful Downtown Resurgence in Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa, is undergoing a rapid and thorough urban revival -- at least when compared to other cities. By Des Moines standards, the city's pace is par for the course.
February 18, 2010, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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Much of the downtown project is centered around a new headquarters for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

"Next December, after 30 months of construction at a cost of $250 million, Wellmark is scheduled to complete the 600,000-square-foot five-story building, which will occupy three blocks of Grand Avenue and anchor a growing downtown office and entertainment district known as the Western Gateway. If that schedule is met, the project will have taken roughly four years from start to finish.

By the standards of most downtown construction - where land assembly alone can span half a decade or more - that is unusually fast, developers say. But Wellmark's speedy pace is typical of recent commercial, residential and retail development in Des Moines, where public and private cooperation has produced a robust urban landscape matched by few cities its size."

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Published on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 in The New York Times
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