Our Work

801 Grand Plaza Renovation + Streetscape

Des Moines, Iowa

Confluence was retained by the Principal Financial Group and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to renovate the existing plaza and streetscape surrounding the 801 Grand skyscraper in downtown Des Moines resulting in a new corporate “front door” for the company.

801 Grand is Iowa’s tallest building and home to numerous businesses, most notably its owner Principal Financial Group. Surrounding the 44-story building lies a 31,000-square foot plaza and gathering space. More than 20 years after its original construction, the plaza required remediation, as its original waterproofing had begun to fail, allowing water to leak into the garage and finished spaces below the plaza. To address the waterproofing issues, most of the existing site materials at the plaza had to be removed, presenting an opportunity for redesign.

All existing granite from the plaza and streetscape was inventoried by the masonry contractor prior to removal. As much as possible, this existing material was reused but new material was also required due to the expanded scope of the project and to replace pieces which were damaged or worn. The design team worked closely with the masonry contractor and a granite supplier to develop a plan that allowed for reuse of the existing cladding in a thoughtful layout that accounted for the slight variations in coloration between the original and new materials.

The renovation incorporates new granite paving, an expanded outdoor terrace, granite planters and curbs, new signage design, new railings, and a drop-off lane created with curb “bump outs” on Grand Avenue. These streetscape concepts will be continued several blocks west in an effort to provide a visual and physical connection between Gateway West and the 801 block. Because the plaza is located above an existing parking garage, Confluence worked with a national engineering firm to provide water proofing solutions as part of the redesign.

Confluence worked closely with the tenants and Owner’s team to phase the construction and maintain access throughout the duration of the project.