Our Work

Walnut Street Corridor Retail Study

Des Moines, Iowa

Confluence is leading a multi-disciplinary team in preparing a streetscape improvement plan, along with a retail strategy + merchandising plan, for the Walnut Street Corridor in downtown Des Moines. Our team won the highly competitive commission with a mix of local design talent combined with an urban media consultant and an urban retail strategies consultant.

The project posed a number of challenges to the team, including the public’s perception of the corridor, maximizing the City’s dollars in infrastructure improvements, and creating a destination and memorable connection in the face of a generation-long flight to the suburbs. The Confluence team held a series of focus groups and public meetings to determine the key issues that would keep visitors and workers downtown to shop or dine in the area. In addition, the team conducted a Retail Market analysis which determined a need for 225,000 square feet of retail and restaurants in downtown Des Moines.

The resultant plan proposes a number of improvements to the district, including urban gardens, light art, on-street parking, inter-active kiosks, distinct street lights and a streetscape framework that allows plenty of room for outdoor dining, pop-ups, and vendors. Since the district is retail focused, only the block corners receive landscape treatment in an effort to maximize views to storefronts. The first phase of the project is currently under construction.