At least $2.5 million in tenant improvements are proposed for a downtown high-rise office building at 317 Sixth Ave. Photo courtesy of Polk County assessor

 

A downtown high-rise office building is proposed to undergo at least $2.5 million in tenant improvements to accommodate the expansion of OpenLoop Health Inc., a staffing, software and technology company that provides services to the telehealth industry, the Des Moines City Council learned this week.

OpenLoop Health, which leases office space in the 14-story office building at 317 Sixth Ave., is asking for financial assistance from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s High Quality Jobs Program. The council this week approved supporting the request and providing $250,000 in matching funds to the expansion project.

OpenLoop Health provides support to the nation’s expanding telehealth medical industry, prompting the Des Moines-based company to also experience rapid growth. The company expects to add 400 new jobs over the next three years, 60 of which are expected to have annual salaries of $71,240 or more, according to information provided to the council. The company currently has a staff of 75.

The company expects to lease 10 floors of the 14-story building in which it is located. Tenant improvements are expected to cost at least $2.5 million, city information shows.


“This will greatly help in stabilizing an office building that is currently experiencing higher vacancy rates and is anticipated to increase the assessed value of the building as the building’s occupancy stabilizes,” according to information provided to the council.


When the expansion is completed, OpenLoop Health expects to generate at least 1,500 annual hotel stays, adding an estimated $400,000 annually to the local economy, city information shows.

The overall expansion is valued at $18.9 million, according to information given to the council.

The exterior of the 14-story high-rise, constructed in 1966, is a mix of glass and black steel. The property, which fronts Sixth Avenue, includes a two-story portion that sits on the southeast corner of Locust Street and Sixth Avenue.


The property is owned by 317 6th Avenue LLC. The limited liability company was organized by local developer Jeff Young in fall 2022, Polk County recorder records show. Young acquired the property in March 2017 through his We Can Build It LLC. Ownership of the property was transferred to 317 6th Avenue LLC in December, records show.

The property in 2021 was valued at $5.2 million. When Young acquired the property in 2017, it was valued at $3.95 million.

The City Council this week approved providing $250,000 to the expansion project in the form of a forgivable loan that would be paid from the city’s Economic Development Enterprise Fund. If OpenLoop Health meets or exceeds job creation and pay projections and makes the proposed improvements to the building, the loan will be forgiven in about three years.