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R&R Realty to expand West Des Moines office park


As office vacancy rates grow in some areas of Greater Des Moines, developers are moving forward with projects, though they’re being choosier about where their new buildings are constructed.

Last week, real estate developer and property manager R&R Realty Group said it planned to build nine office buildings along 74th Street in Country Club Office Plaza, a 200-acre development south of Interstate 235 that is currently home to 13 office buildings, restaurants, hotels, a bank and other retail stores.

The announcement comes as office space tenants increasingly demand buildings in highly visible areas that are easily accessible from major highways and close to services such as restaurants and banks. Country Club Office Plaza, with its proximity to Interstate 80 and roads that have recently been widened, fits those needs, R&R executives said.

The project is also another example of how developers and business owners are planning for and reacting to General Growth Properties Inc.’s Jordan Creek Town Center, a $225 million shopping mall that is expected to be a big draw for businesses and consumers in the region.

“Businesses want to locate near restaurants and there are a lot of places to eat nearby,” said Mark Rupprecht, president of Realty Marketing Group, an R&R subsidiary, and listing agent for the development.   “We think there is demand right now for people looking for office space that is highly visible. We’re in the market every day, so we’re confident there is demand. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be putting up buildings.”

R&R plans to begin grading work for two of the nine buildings – Pinehurst and Summit – this month. The two buildings will each contain 35,000 square feet and cost a total of $5.6 million. The company expects them to be completed by May.

When complete, the new buildings will add another 422,000 square feet of space to the 825,000 square feet already there and will nearly complete the Country Club Office Plaza. R&R bought the land in 1988 and began construction on the project in 1991.

The new buildings, combined with the completion of the new I-80/74th Street interchange and widening of 74th Street, is likely to draw medical and professional firms, Rupprecht said. The development is expected to draw companies that want to be near retail services, too.

“They would certainly benefit from being so close to a regional mall, ” Rupprecht said.

Thousands of motorists are expected to drive each day along 74th Street on their way to Jordan Creek Town Center, passing the business park on the way. The mall, the biggest construction project currently under way in the state, is expected to open in August 2004.

Another tenant will be R&R itself, which plans to move its headquarters to Summit once construction of the building is complete.

Executives haven’t yet decided when to begin construction on the remaining seven buildings and they haven’t yet signed any tenants for the new structures. One company official said his goal is to fill them by the time they open.

All but one of the remaining seven buildings will be two- or three-story structures, ranging in size from 35,000 to 72,000 square feet, Rupprecht said. R&R continues to develop site plans for those buildings. Construction costs for the remaining seven buildings haven’t been determined, he said.

Development Service Corp. will provide development services. Construction Services Inc. has been named construction manager of the project.

The development of one additional site on Vista Drive located in the 200-acre park would complete the project.

“Those nine buildings tie up a lot of ground we have remaining along 74th Street,” Rupprecht said. “That would give us over 1.25 million square feet of office space there and we think this is going to be a major center for a number of businesses.”


When R&R Realty Group completed development of its Three   Fountains Office Park in West Des Moines during the 1980s, it went looking for more ground to build further westward in the suburb while offering potential customers convenient access to Interstate 80.

In 1988, R&R Realty purchased 160 acres along 74th Street, which at the time, featured basic infrastructure and a two-lane bridge. Like other developers, it saw potential in the area and later purchased an additional 40 acres to further develop the business park.

“We felt it was in the path of growth,” said Mark Rupprecht, president of Realty Marketing Group, an R&R subsidiary.

Twelve years after the first building was erected at Country Club Office Plaza, Rupprecht said the development stands to attract office users moving further westward toward the path of growth.

“It’s something that we feel is going to be a nice-looking product,” Rupprecht said. “It will be a good fit for companies to call home.”

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