The Weitz Company Tenant Improvements

Des Moines, Iowa
39,175 SF

The Weitz Company

Project Team
Todd Garner
Tim Hickman

The Weitz Company Tenant Improvements – Substance Architecture
The Weitz Company Tenant Improvements – Substance Architecture

The Weitz Company Tenant Improvements

The Weitz Company needed to expand its office space and desired to consolidate what had been two locations into one. As a leading Des Moines, IA-based general contractor, design-builder, and construction manager, as well as one of the longest-established commercial general contractors in the United States, Weitz could easily have built a new building but chose to reinforce their commitment to downtown Des Moines by relocating to a newly renovated building at 611 East Fifth Avenue.

The Weitz Company and parent company, Orascom USA, are now the anchor tenants, occupying three floors of the building. An efficient floorplate organization provides naturally lit, collaborative work neighborhoods as well as cross-disciplinary meeting spaces and amenities. Features include polished concrete floors, exposed ceilings, and raw steel elements which showcase the long history of the building and reflect The Weitz Company’s 167-year-old history in Des Moines.

Rooms with a View

Substance Architecture and The Weitz Company established a set of guiding principles to clarify the organization of the new office space and organized the programming and design around these ideas. The result is a workplace planned around Weitz’s work “neighborhoods” where corporate divisions aren’t divided but united. Central to these work zones are amenities and shared spaces including a kitchen, Town Center gathering space, Boardroom, and reception area, all oriented to provide views to an adjacent sculpture garden.

Intentional Materials

The interior palette contrasts raw materials with refined elements symbolizing Weitz’s emphasis on transparency as an organization and the transformation process of construction. Exposed structures and systems, raw steel, and polished existing concrete floors play against custom wood stairs and conference tables, wood ceilings, and glass interior partitions.

Adaptive Reuse

Some may wonder why an established general contractor like Weitz wouldn’t want to build their own building from the ground up. With such a long and strong history in Des Moines, it was important for the company to maintain a presence in the heart of downtown Des Moines. They appreciate the nearby amenities, available parking, and connection to the adjacent skywalk system. Like Substance, they also believe that whenever possible, renovating existing structures to allow them to extend their usable life is the best approach, reducing construction waste and maintaining the city’s unique character.


MEP Engineer (Design-Build)
The Waldinger Corporation
Structural Engineer
General Contractor
The Weitz Company

Photography by Corey Gaffer