Business Publications Corp. relocating to new offices
The Depot, where company is currently located, will be sold
Kathy A. Bolten May 24, 2023 | 3:15 pm
3 min read time690 wordsAll Latest News, BPC News Releases, Real Estate & Development
Business Publications Corp., whose offices have been located in the Depot in downtown Des Moines for the past 37 years, will move later this year to the Plaza in space that will keep the company a part of the central business district.
Connie Wimer, the company’s owner and chairman, said she will sell the Depot property, which she owns under a separate entity. Wimer has made an offer to purchase the office space at the Plaza, 300 Walnut St. The upper levels of the 25-story building include condominiums. Office and commercial space are located on the first two levels and include skywalk access.
The move will likely take place in the fall, after updates to the space are completed.
The decision to relocate BPC was sparked by the expansion of flexible work schedules, Wimer said. The company – which publishes the Business Record, dsm magazine and other related products – has 38 employees, a majority of whom work in a hybrid environment with many employees working remotely on any given day.
“I’ve known for a long time that it just did not make sense to stay” at the Depot, Wimer said. “It was important to me to stay downtown. When I learned the space at the Plaza was available, I was thrilled. … It’s a good fit for us.”
When the pandemic began in March 2020, office employees across the country transitioned to working remotely. As the pandemic waned, many workers were reluctant to return full time to the office, preferring instead the flexibility of remote work.
Some BPC employees have also preferred working remotely. Suzanna de Baca, the company’s president and CEO, told the staff in a meeting today that she and Wimer support continuing to offer flexible work schedules. However, doing that means making changes, de Baca said.
“It’s our responsibility to be proactive in managing our finances so that we can remain a strong company,” de Baca said during the staff meeting.
The Depot, which Wimer acquired in 1986, has over 17,000 square feet of space, more than the company now needs, de Baca said. The company will have about 6,600 square feet of space at the Plaza, she said.
The Depot is at 100 Fourth St. on the north side of the railroad tracks. The historic building was constructed in 1900 to 1901. The structure was built by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad to accommodate the growth in passenger trains.
The building was constructed with dark bricks and a red tile roof. It includes large arched windows and a covered passenger waiting area. The structure was long and narrow, reaching from Fourth Street to Fifth Avenue.
A wide arched structure spanned Fourth Street, connecting an older depot with the new building.
A portion of the arch remains, which Wimer owns.
The Depot closed in 1970 when the Rock Island discontinued passenger service. The building sat empty until Wimer purchased it.
“When I first toured [the Depot], it had a lot of broken windows, dead birds lying around and papers piled everywhere,” Wimer said. A railroad employee had an office on the second floor, she said.
Wimer, with the help of local architect Douglas Wells, reimagined the space for offices for Business Publications and Iowa Title Co., which she owned at the time. Contractors for that renovation included Ringland Johnson and Crowley, Brown Brothers Electrical and Kholes Mechanical.
The property is valued at $1.1 million, according to the Polk County assessor.
“I have great love for this building,” Wimer said during Wednesday’s staff meeting. “I plan on being very careful about who buys the building so that it will continue to be well used. …
“I probably will shed a few tears when I leave [the Depot] for the last time. But I feel very, very positive about the new space, and frankly, it will make us a more efficient company.”
Kathy A. Bolten
Kathy A. Bolten is a senior staff writer at Business Record. She covers real estate & development, law & government and retail.