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Economic Development Projects in 2023 Create a Best-in-Class Place to Live + Work

Economic Development Week

May 9, 2023

As we celebrate Economic Development Week, May 8 – 12, it is important to reflect on the goal of economic development and the success Greater Des Moines (DSM) has experienced over the past year.

According to the International Economic Development Council, economic development is the intentional practice of improving a community’s economic well-being and quality of life. It includes a broad range of activities to attract, create, and retain jobs, and to foster a resilient, pro-growth tax base and an inclusive economy.

Investing in the Greater Des Moines Region

When a business grows and invests in our region, they hire employees to fill newly created office, manufacturing and/or service jobs. Businesses requiring additional or renovated real estate sign new construction contracts which secure construction employment. Main Street businesses profit from the dollars infused into our economy and offer products and services desired by residents. As new or improved buildings are completed, additional property tax base is generated which supports necessary public services.

In 2022, the Greater Des Moines Partnership worked with 32 companies who are growing and investing in the region. Combined, these companies invested almost $1 billion in our economy and created more than 700 new jobs.

Manufacturing companies, such as Andersen Windows & Doors, Cemen Tech, Collins Aerospace, Dee Zee, Vermeer and Ziegler CAT, have expanded in the region creating hundreds of new jobs. The growth in the manufacturing sector and the increased need for warehouse/distribution space has prompted the development community to invest in new industrial buildings to meet the real estate demand. CBRE reports, “Over 2 million sq. ft. of new (industrial) space was delivered in 2022 with approximately 75% (1.5 million sq. ft.) of this space already leased. Record levels of development continue with over 2.3 million sq. ft. of space under construction going into 2023 and other new developments expected to break ground.”

In addition, Worldwide Logistics, a supply chain and logistics management company, began construction on a new headquarters facility in Urbandale and Weitz Corporation moved into a new corporate headquarters in Downtown DSM.

DSM has seen major data center growth for a dozen years and it is not slowing down. Microsoft and Meta have invested billions of dollars in the region, each employing over 400 people on their respective campuses. And, Apple broke ground on their $1.4 billion Waukee data center.

Business growth remains strong in DSM in 2023. Michael Foods has announced that they will be doubling their manufacturing operation in Norwalk. With the creation of 168 new jobs and a $146 million investment, this expansion is a major addition to the region. Clow Valve, a valve and fire hydrant manufacturer in Oskaloosa, will be starting a complete facility replacement of their iron foundry, requiring a $75 million investment. SPAL, an Italian auto parts manufacturer, is working on plans to build a new U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Ankeny. The $35 million project will include the creation of 39 new jobs. OpenLoop, a leader in white-label telehealth support services powering virtual care across the country, has announced plans to hire 400 additional employees, bringing new employment opportunities in Downtown Des Moines (DSM).

DSM continues to flourish. Thank you to the companies who are investing in our communities, creating job opportunities, and helping make DSM a thriving region. Thank you to our local economic development partners and government entities who consistently prioritize initiatives to make their community a best-in-class place to live and work. Thank you to our volunteer leadership who willingly give of their time to accomplish big goals and improve the quality of place for residents and visitors alike. Thank you to everyone who calls DSM home. Our region would not be a strong, successful community without you. Together, we are Greater Des Moines: Do Something Greater.

With the #7 Lowest Cost of Living in the U.S. and a Top Metro for Number of Economic Development Projects (among metros with a population of 200,000 to 1 million), Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a region where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 13% below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life. In 2022, Site Selection Magazine named it a top metro for a number of economic development projects. Find out more about how your business can succeed in DSM with the help of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Economic Development Prospectus.

Throughout Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) 10-county region, a thriving economic environment is attracting more Investors to do business. Learn more about other recent development projects in the region.

Stacie LoVan

Stacie Lovan is the Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. She has served as President of the Professional Developers of Iowa and held positions with the Warren County Economic Development Corporation, the City of Fayette and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.