Aviva picks WDM as new home
Aviva USA plans to build its new headquarters in West Des Moines, leaving downtown Des Moines but creating 400 new jobs as it continues to grow under new ownership.
The insurance company has selected a 71-acre parcel of land at the southwest corner of Jordan Creek Parkway and Mills Civic Parkway for its $135 million to $150 million facility. That is directly south from several parcels of land that health insurer Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has acquired options on as it also searches for a new headquarters.
Christopher Littlefield, executive vice president of Aviva USA, said Wednesday that the company bypassed downtown sites because of the greater flexibility available with large tracts of undeveloped land in West Des Moines.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a good site offered to us in downtown Des Moines that accommodated our growth,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Littlefield said the project still needs to clear zoning approval from West Des Moines, and the company is awaiting to hear what incentives it would receive from the city and the state. The company has not yet made application for any aid, but Littlefield said it expects similar treatment that other financial service companies when expanding in the metro area.
Under standard incentives, West Des Moines would return part of AvivaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s property taxes back to it over five years. The amount rebated starts at 75 percent and drops 15 percent annually. A recent example of state incentives: Allied Insurance received $7.7 million forgivable loan when it expanded in downtown Des Moines.
Aviva hopes to start construction in 2008. Its headquarters are in leased space downtown in the Hub Tower, and it has employees spread across two other downtown buildings. Updated 2:44 pm