City Spotlight - Des Moines, Iowa


We are pleased to preview a forthcoming project – the redevelopment of the historic Hotel Fort Des Moines located in Des Moines, Iowa. Originally opened in 1919, the hotel is set to debut in a luxurious new incarnation in advance of the 100th Anniversary of the property. At times host to 13 United States presidents (including Woodrow Wilson, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon, among others), the legendary hotel has served as venue for international luminaries, including Russian politician Nikita Khrushchev, and countless notable events throughout the century of the hotel’s existence. The opportunity to re-imagine this remarkable property is an exciting project set in an exhilarating city – one on the verge of a remarkable renaissance.

Des Moines is a fascinating study in contemporary America – a small pioneer town that is quickly becoming a magnet for multi-national tech companies. Home to people from pre-history dating back 7,000 years, the city’s origins began in 1843 when a fort was constructed near where the Des Moines River and the Raccoon River merge. The town was incorporated in 1851, and upon completion of an important railroad link, grew in size to become Iowa’s largest city.

Today, new construction is rendering a bright future for the “Hartford of the West”. Microsoft is in the final stages of completing two data centers, and Apple has broken ground on an ambitious new facility. State of the art office buildings (one designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano) have the potential to become downtown landmarks, with some designs complementing the existing sculpture park. Two high-rise towers are the first to be built in decades, with heights rising 39 and 33 floors.

In short, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the Des Moines landscape – and particularly exhilarating to be involved with such a celebrated and prestigious property. The Hotel Fort Des Moines has hosted musicians including Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Cher, and Johnny Cash, athletes like Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis, and other celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor to Mae West. As a new era in the city dawns, the Hotel Fort Des Moines is poised to be at the center of the action, and, through thoughtful design for travel with natural, organic luxury touches, set the stage for more memorable moments in the stimulating town.

We are proud to have been selected to partake in the renewal, and are excited to reveal the forthcoming renderings later this summer.

In the meantime, you can check out more work in our portfolio, here, or see our entire website by visiting SawyerCo.Design.

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