Home to the Krause families businesses, the Krause Gateway Center opens its doors after 5 years of planning and construction The Des Moines Register


Three years after construction began, the Krause Gateway Center on the western edge of downtown Des Moines is open for business. 

Employees from Kum & Go and the Krause family's eight other companies have moved into the building at 1459 Grand Ave., across the street from the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

Designed by world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, the building "is a work of art in itself," said Ryan Moffatt, the city's economic development project manager.

Kyle Krause, the CEO of Kum & Go, said the company didn't intend to create an artistic statement when it decided to move from West Des Moines to downtown, but he knows the building sends a message. 

"It's, ‘we’re here,'" Krause said Friday during a media tour of the building.

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"It's a permanent home for our family businesses," he said. "And I think as a family business ... you think about generations versus thinking about a shorter time period.

"This is a generational building." 

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The 100-foot tall, 159,000-square-foot building is wrapped in glass panels.

When the 29-foot lobby windows were installed, they were the tallest in North America, only to be outdone by the remodel of Apple's flagship store in New York City.

It took 4,000 tons of steel to support six stories of heavy glass. That's about 50 pounds of steel per square foot. (A typical office uses about 10 pounds of steel per square foot.)

That much material didn't come cheap.

The six-story Krause Gateway Center cost about $150 million. By comparison, Blackbird's 33-story tower is expected to cost $100 million; The Fifth, a 40-story high-rise, is budgeted at $170 million. 

There are about 300 employees working there today, but room for at least 800 when fully occupied. 

All of Krause Holdings Inc.'s companies are housed there. That includes Kum & Go, Solar Transport, Des Moines Menace Soccer and Krause Holdings Real Estate.

Support staff for Krause's Italian wineries, Vietti and Enrico Serafino, and Sharon Krause's organic sheep farm, Della Terra, are there too. 

It's a collaborative workspace.

Employees aren't assigned desks. They have lockers to store personal belongings and can work anywhere they find space, including any of the tables that line the building's perimeter, offering bird's-eye views of the sculpture park. 

"We like to tell our associates they no longer have a 6-by-8 cubicle — their office is really 160,000-square-feet," said Niki DePhillips, senior vice president of Kum & Go store development.

Employee amenities include work stations with treadmills and adjustable standing desks. There's a game room with a ping pong table and TVs, a workout facility that can be accessed 24/7, shuffleboard, multiple coffee stations, beer and wine.

They also have exclusive access to the fifth-floor terrace, which can hold up to 900 people for company parties, and the rooftop garden.

The second floor has an art gallery with the Krause family's personal collection. It's not open to the public, but the art can be seen from the north side of the building.

Some areas are open to the public though. 

About two-thirds of the property is green space with 128 mature trees. The plaza on the west side has interactive musical sculptures, chess tables, cafe tables and bocce ball. A bike trail runs along the perimeter.

The first-floor lobby is also open to the public. It will eventually have a cafe.

"We expect this to be a vibrant, public space," DePhillips said. 

The company continues to work on a master plan for its other downtown properties, including the building across 15th Street, which is home to the Gas Lamp. 

How can I tour the building?

A public tour of the Krause Gateway Center will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 1. This will be the only public tour of the building for the foreseeable future. 

Participants must register online at The company is asking for a $20 donation to give to Central Iowa Shelter & Services. 

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