Hilton Des Moines Downtown opens at the Iowa Events Center

Collaborative design team delivers a new 330-key convention hotel in downtown Des Moines

(Des Moines – March 22, 2018) — The long-awaited Hilton Des Moines Downtown hotel officially opened its doors to the public in a grand opening event March 21. The 8-story, 330-room contemporary hotel is adjacent to the Iowa Events Center and is connected to the Des Moines downtown skywalk system. The new facility encapsulates a total of 317,638 square feet, delivers full-service guest amenities, and more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space in the core of Des Moines’s convention and entertainment district. The state-of-the-art venue provides the city with expanded event opportunities and the enhanced ability to attract organizations and conferences from around the country.

The innovative downtown property is the result of a collaborative design effort between RDG Planning & Design, DLR Group, Anderson/Miller, and The Weitz Company, and ownership representation provided by Project Management Consultants, LLC.

“Our teams were thrilled to work alongside Hilton to help enhance Des Moines’s convention business,” said DLR Group’s Global Hospitality Leader Tom Mitchell. “By designing an active, inviting space for event goers and Des Moines residents, we are creating more opportunities for the city at large, and helping position the Iowa Events Center as a strong competitor for regional and national conventions.”

First Class Amenities

Visitors and locals can take advantage of an outdoor entertainment space and terrace on the second level that overlooks the downtown skyline as well as the capital building down Park Street. The second floor is home to technology-rich meeting spaces, including a large, flexible 10,000-square-foot ballroom, individual meeting rooms, and an array of wide open pre-function corridors allowing ease of access during events. A parking structure beneath the building provides on-site, dedicated spaces for visitors.

Smart guestrooms offer visitors the ability to check-in, set room thermostats, customize guestroom TVs and other technology directly from their phones. The hotel features state-of-the-art audio/video systems and utilizes high-efficiency LED lighting throughout. The lighting system is 100% controllable by advanced control technology to maintain user comfort and maximize energy savings. Lighting system control is via user-friendly touchscreen control pads located in all the public meeting and lobby areas. The central lighting controllers are also remotely addressable by the manufacturer and the Hilton facility management team to facilitate event scheduling, lighting energy use, and system software and firmware updates as needed.

A Team of Experts to Enhance the Des Moines Skyline

The Hilton Des Moines Downtown, a two-year long project that brought together local and national design expertise, serves as a catalyst to drive downtown economic growth and increase the city’s presence worldwide. Des Moines-based firm RDG Planning & Design served as the Architect of Record. With more than 50 years of experience working in Des Moines, and in the city’s downtown core, RDG provided critical guidance on assembling a team that could design and produce a world-class convention hotel.

“RDG Planning & Design is proud to have served as the Architect of Record, leading an incredible team of consultants along with the Weitz Company, as general contractors, in delivering the Hilton Downtown Des Moines to Polk County and the City of Des Moines,” said RDG’s Davis Sanders, project manager. “We are confident the hotel will help the Iowa Events Center achieve an entirely new regional and national level attracting events and conventions previously not possible.”

RDG also served as project landscape architects, lighting designers, and architects and interior designers on the two skywalks connecting the Hilton Downtown Des Moines to the Iowa Events Center and downtown Des Moines.

Global architecture and engineering firm, DLR Group, led the design of the hotel, the goal of which was to redefine and activate the intersection at 5th Avenue and Park Street. The hotel’s new restaurant, Park Street Kitchen, anchors the corner of the property, while the building’s architectural design uses a linear massing to emphasize the border and edges of the existing Iowa Events Center civic buildings.

In contrast, a vertically patterned frame rises above the horizontal bars of 8-story the guest tower. The sculptural frame encapsulates the large glass façade facing downtown and helps define the gateway to the Iowa Event Center. Broad, operable windows and glass welcome guests into the restaurant and public spaces, connecting the lobby to the pedestrian street frontage.

“We used abundant glass and lighting features throughout our design,” said DLR Group’s Brian Murch, AIA, lead designer for the firm’s Hospitality Studio. “Our goal is to showcase the city’s urban setting and sights, and make the hotel an active civic building that invites people inside and gives them something to remember.”

A high-tech theme runs throughout building’s interior and exterior design, paying homage to companies that have found a home in Iowa, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

“Des Moines is a growing technology hub and several elements of the hotel incorporate patterns following this theme of technology,” said Murch. “The guestroom windows, for example, use a random binary pattern similar to barcodes to add visual interest to the façade.”

Anderson Miller Ltd., which is based out of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, led the interior design of the project using visual cues from the exterior building envelope. The guest journey begins with two unique arrival locations into the space: the main entry and the city’s skywalk system.  The use of a central wood slated structure in the lobby recalls the digital theme of the hotel’s exterior and provides a sense of warmth to the large glass envelope. Similar to a circuit board, various social zones are linked cohesively by a central gathering space and create intimate landing spots for the guests.

“The design intent was to alter the guest’s perception of Des Moines as an agricultural city to that of a multi-faceted digital nerve center,” said Anderson Miller’s Dana Irvine, project manager. “Interior design elements such as carpet patterns, wall finish details, and specialty light fixtures recall the high-tech theme, while local art enhances the city’s cultural vibe.”

The Weitz Company was the developer and general contractor, overseeing construction of the Hilton Des Moines Downtown. Weitz collaborated diligently with all parties to deliver what is now a first-class hotel.

“From the beginning, our intent has been to finish the project in style,” said The Weitz Company Senior Vice President Jim McCulloh. “It has taken a long list of experts to successfully design and build this project, and Weitz has taken the most advanced measures to deliver the project efficiently.”

Project Management Consultants, LLC (PMC) represented the ownership entities, helping manage the project from beginning to end. “The Hilton Des Moines Downtown brought together a team of designers, contractors, hotel operators, and consultants that shared a common vision and goal,” explained PMC Director Ellis Katz. “The result of this collaborative effort is a catalytic hotel for Des Moines and a truly memorable experience for its guests.”

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