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Project Spotlight: Principal at 711 High Street

Des Moines Developments Principal Renovation

August 8, 2017

Renovations at Principal Headquarters

The Principal headquarters in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) has been undergoing renovations for two years, and the transformation is almost complete. The 711 High renovation project is the most significant project of all Principal campus redevelopment, and it’s just one piece of the whole-campus renovation. The entire project includes three buildings, including parts of 801 Grand, 1.7 million square feet, six-and-a-half to seven years of labor and about $400 million.

While 801 Grand — the tallest building in all of Iowa — is the most prominent building in the Downtown DSM skyline and the building many correlate with Principal, it is not the headquarters of the company. Nope, 711 High is the front door of Principal, one of the largest companies in the state.

The renovation means a lot to the company on a global scale, as well. The freshly-restored building will represent the company to the entire world. It will reflect the organization, the size of the organization and all who work for the organization with just a walk through the door.

Sustainability and a Flexible Work Space

A majority of the project includes changing the building’s work environment. Officials wanted the office to be the best place for people to do their best work, so the whole building is being transitioned into a flexible work environment rather than a more traditional one. This means less cubicles — which isn’t the right system for many areas of work within Principal — to a variety of work spaces, including open areas like tables and booths in addition to more traditional conference rooms. The goal was to break down the one-to-one setup and bring a more diverse, neighborhood feel to the interior of the building.

The project is about 3/4 complete. Many of the project’s resources originated in Greater Des Moines (DSM), including a majority of the more than 2,000 tradespeople who were employed by the project. Principal really wanted this to be a DSM-centric project and kept a lot of its outsourcing within Iowa.

Principal also wanted to keep the renovations sustainable and received certifications of sustainability throughout the process. In fact, the company surpassed its goal of recycling 75 percent of the construction materials used, recycling just over 90 percent of the materials. Plus, 93 percent of the materials that came out of 711 High during the demolition were recycled.

Interested in more case studies like this? Learn more about other Recent Development Projects in DSM. 

Ryan Carpenter

Ryan Carpenter is director of corporate real estate for Principal Financial Group and knowledgeable about the company's renovations and changes on a global scale.