EMC Announces Plans to Sell a Portion of its Real Estate Holdings in Downtown Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (Jan. 6, 2022)—EMC Insurance Companies today announced plans to sell four properties it owns in downtown Des Moines in a move to realign its real estate holdings. The company owns more than one million square feet of real estate downtown and leases a large portion out to tenants. EMC determined the time is right to focus on the space it needs for its own business purposes. The properties being sold are primarily leased space and excess storage:
- The Hub Tower – a 21-floor building at 699 Walnut St., built in the mid-1980s.
- The west portion of the Kaleidoscope at the Hub – a two-story indoor mall on Walnut Street between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street, built in the mid-1980s. The section of the Kaleidoscope east of Sixth Avenue has separate ownership.
- Two brick storage buildings on the south side of downtown – the former Carpenter Paper Building at 106 SW Seventh St., built in 1918, and the Lortex Building at 113 SW Eighth St., built in 1970. A sale is pending on these properties to a buyer yet to be announced.
EMC will retain the three buildings that comprise its core headquarters campus: 717 Mulberry St., 700 Walnut St. and 219 Eighth St., which occupies an entire city block. The company has no plans to sell those buildings. EMC also will retain its two parking ramps and surface parking lot.
"EMC was founded here more than 110-years ago, and we're committed to downtown Des Moines for the long term," said Scott Jean, EMC President and CEO. "Des Moines will remain our headquarters location – in fact, we recently announced exciting enhancements to our corporate campus, including an urban park that opens late summer 2022, upgrades to our cafeteria dining area and a coffee shop in our skywalk that opened this week."
EMC continually reviews its space needs and real estate holdings and determined the time was right to sell. The company purchased the Hub Tower and Kaleidoscope 11 years ago due to their close proximity to EMC's corporate campus and to meet possible expansion needs. But, EMC has been leasing most of the space out for the duration of that time period. "We have determined that we have ample space at our other three buildings to meet our needs for the foreseeable future," said Jean.
The Hub Tower and Kaleidoscope will be marketed as one package. Cushman and Wakefield Iowa Commercial Advisors serves as the broker on the transaction. Tenant leases will remain in effect and a sale will not impact terms and conditions.
"We have been good stewards of these properties and made a lot of improvements to the Hub Tower and Kaleidoscope, in particular," said Jean. "We intend to sell to a buyer who will maintain and take pride in the buildings just as we have."
Carpenter and Lortex Buildings
EMC has entered into a purchase agreement with a yet-to-be-announced buyer for the Carpenter and Lortex buildings, and the sale is in the due diligence phase. EMC previously used the buildings for storage, but the Carpenter Building is one of the last remaining downtown warehouses that can be converted for "highest and best use." Once the sale closes, EMC will retain use of the Lortex Building, for a period of up to two years, while it transitions out of the space.
EMC Downtown Park and Common Ground Coffee Shop
In July 2021, EMC and the city of Des Moines announced plans for a new park at the former site of the Younkers department store at 701 Walnut St., across from EMC's campus. The EMC Downtown Park is slated for completion in late summer 2022 and will feature a half basketball court, pickleball and bags courts, chess and ping pong tables, benches, raised flower gardens, a pet relief area, a climbing feature for children and more.
Last month, EMC announced plans for Common Ground, a new coffee shop located on the skywalk at 700 Walnut St., which opened Jan. 3. Common Ground is open to the public and features teas, smoothies, baked goods, wraps, sandwiches and snacks.
About EMC Insurance Companies
EMC Insurance Companies has more than 2,400 employees and is among the top 60 property and casualty insurance organizations in the country based on net written premium. Employers Mutual Casualty Company (EMCC) was organized in 1911 to write workers’ compensation protection in Iowa. Today, operating under the trade name EMC Insurance Companies, the company provides property and casualty and life insurance products and services throughout the United States and writes reinsurance contracts worldwide. EMCC is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit emcins.com.