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Why It’s Important to Commit to Supporting Local Businesses in Downtown DSM

Commitment to Downtown DSM Businesses

November 6, 2023

In 2017, I became Vice President of Leasing and Asset Management before becoming Director of Operations of LawMark Capital, Inc. in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). My specialty is the Des Moines Iowa Commercial Real Estate market, and I truly love making connections through my day-to-day strategic work in the community. From sitting on numerous boards, including for Operation Downtown and the Skywalk Association, to staying in touch with downtown organizations to ensure the best for both companies and Downtown DSM, figuring out the next steps for the downtown area is tricky but can be done.

Downtown Des Moines Buildings

The Future of Working in Downtown Des Moines

When it comes to working in Downtown DSM, blanket mandates aren’t the answer, and what works for one organization may not work the same for another. So, what can we do? Considering options like coworking space, renovating or changing the way employees use office space may be part of the solution. Leadership must be proactive, and I think if they are, finding the right size and layout of workspaces will be beneficial to landlords and businesses in the future. If companies are moving out of large spaces — and we’re seeing that with, as an example, MidAmerican leaving the Ruan building — how can we get creative with space and make it nimbler and more versatile for the hybrid worker? Strategic planning and coordinating space use is going to be more critical than ever to utilizing a company's real estate.

Financial Center Entry

Supporting Local Downtown Des Moines Businesses

Right now, Downtown DSM restaurants and shops need our support. If you love to eat at a certain restaurant when you come downtown for a show, consider supporting it during the lunch hour. Otherwise, when you come downtown for a show and want to grab dinner at your favorite restaurant, they are no longer going to be there.

Downtown DSM is such an amenity to the entire region, and we are lucky to have restaurant options like Centro, Malo and Bubba’s — Orchestrate-managed properties are just phenomenal — and locally owned shops that offer a variety of items. These small businesses will go away if people don’t continue to support them in off hours, so for the people coming back to work in offices, take a colleague to lunch, get away from your desk and support your favorite businesses. Make a point to go back to regular spots you love and try newly opened places. Local restaurants rely on the lunch crowd to pay their mortgage and stay open to serve you. While you’re in the office, or even working from home, grab lunch downtown when you can.

ARAG Exterior

Traditionally, we have about a 10-year real estate cycle. With the recent Ruan announcement that they’ll be adding 200 apartments — one- and two-bedroom units — and an upcoming announcement on the horizon for a few hundred adaptive reuse apartments from another development group, there is a lot of fun change coming to Downtown DSM. So, if you watch, you’ll see downtown emerge from this slower growth phase right now and see people loving downtown again.

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options. Find event information and follow @downtownDSMUSA on Facebook and Instagram for other news, tips and events happening downtown.

Recently ranked a top 10 metro for number of economic development projects among metros with a population of 200,000 to 1 million, growth continues in and around Downtown Des Moines (DSM) in part thanks to unique public-private partnerships that allow community leaders to work together to invest in, grow and improve the city center. Learn more about other recent development projects in Downtown DSM.

Jesse Bunney

Jesse Bunney is Director of Operations at LawMark Capital, Inc. in Downtown Des Moines, Iowa.