Kum & Go reveals downtown headquarters
Kyle Krause's plans to put his mark on downtown Des Moines are getting bigger.
The CEO of West Des Moines-based Kum & Go unveiled plans Tuesday for the company's new corporate headquarters at 1459 Grand Ave. The building will stand five stories tall, facing the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, with glass walls and large overhangs jutting at different angles.
Kum & Go's building will measure about 160,000 square feet, a 25 percent increase from previous plans. The price tag is expected to top $100 million.
Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the building will feature a rooftop garden, outdoor meeting space, underground parking, training space, a game room and an art collection. The company aims to pursue environmentally friendly construction.
"You have a building that shows a lot of light, a lot of transparency, an opportunity for us, for our associates, to create an environment that allows collaboration, allows interaction and also for us to have an opportunity to share with the public," Krause said.
Kum & Go has hired the Italian architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop to design its new downtown headquarters. Joel Aschbrenner/The Register
Downtown advocates and architecture-buffs have been eagerly awaiting a glimpse of the project, since the convenience store chain announced last year it would relocate downtown.
It will be the first major office development downtown since Wellmark built its headquarters directly east of the Kum & Go site in 2009.
Some local architects previously raised concerns that Kum & Go should be cautious not to overshadow the sculpture park and the other offices in the Western Gateway area.
"I was in that camp and what I saw today relieved those concerns," said Erin Olson Douglas, an economic development coordinator with the city and an architect by trade. "It will be a nice object building… but at the same time it will help frame the park the same way the other buildings do."
At five stories tall, the building will be a similar height to Nationwide, Wellmark and Meredith Corp. offices nearby.
"I'd expected it to have a slightly more monumental presence in front of the park, but it's actually really restrained," said Tom Leslie, Iowa State University professor of architecture. "This one is never going to fade into the background, but it's also going to be a good neighbor to the other buildings around it."
9 things to know
1. It's growing
Kum & Go had originally planned to build a 120,000-square-foot, $92 million building. The new plans call for a roughly 160,000-square-foot building. The price tag will grow with the building, but a specific cost estimate has not been released.
2. Construction will start this year
Kum & Go plans to begin demolition in September. A former Subway, a closed cross-fit gym and former auto body shop will be torn down. Construction is scheduled to be complete by early 2018.
3. It will receive public incentives
The Iowa Economic Development Authority has approved a $9 million incentive package for the project. The company also is expected to request incentives from the city. The project is expected to come before city boards in late summer for approval of the design and incentive package.
4. Kum & Go is leaving a relatively new West Des Moines office
Kum & Go built its current corporate headquarters at 6400 Westown Parkway in 2000. Krause said it became clear the company would outgrow the space, so in 2005 the company sold the property and began paying to lease it.
Krause said the company plans to make downtown a long-term home.
"We know we'll own this for multiple generations," he said. "It's different than the building in West Des Moines. We never intended to have that forever and ever."
5. Krause will own it
The family of CEO Kyle Krause will own the building and Kum & Go will be a tenant. It will be named the Krause Gateway Center.
6. Parking is underground
The office will include two levels of underground parking. Krause said that should be enough for employees when the building opens. As the workforce grows, more parking may have to be developed elsewhere.
7. It will fill in the Western Gateway
The building will sit between 14th and 15th streets and between Grand and Ingersoll avenues, one of the largest empty parcels in downtown's Western Gateway.
Kum & Go plans to ask the city to vacate Linden Street, which cuts through the block and dead-ends at 14th Street.
Local officials have described the block as a key site for connecting downtown with Sherman Hill and Ingersoll Avenue.
8. Fate of Gas Lamp and other buildings unknown
Krause's subsidiaries have bought several other properties around the office site, including the entire block directly to the west, which includes the bar Gas Lamp and the Jefferson Apartments.
Krause said he has no immediate plans to change anything at the Gas Lamp or the other properties.
Asked why he bought the properties, Krause said he wants to be able to create a walkable, active area by making sure there are restaurants and other amenities around the office.
"The thought process is: How do we create the best environment for our associates and what else can we do around here," Krause said.
9. Competitors are next door
QuikTrip, one of Kum & Go's top competitors, has a gas station and store directly north of the office site.
Krause said Kum & Go plans to build its own gas station and convenience store in the area. Krause bought the old Crescent Chevrolet building at 17th and High streets and said the new store could go there, but the location is not set in stone.
Asked if he would buy the QuikTrip and replace it with a Kum & Go, Krause said it depends if QuikTrip wants to sell.