2012 in Review: Real Estate & Development
Friday, December 28, 2012 7:00 AM
An up year for downtown
Cranes and closed sidewalks became a common feature of the central business district in Des Moines. Over in the Western Gateway, an old toilet factory got a handsome remodeling from Koester Construction Co. and reopened this month as Crane Artist Lofts. Hubbell Realty Co. began gutting the Rocket Transfer building near West Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in order to convert the building to apartments and announced plans for another apartment and retail project on Southwest Ninth Street. Hubbell also received a purchase offer from EMC Insurance Co. for the Kaleidoscope at the Hub.
Mike Nelson is renovating the Des Moines and Fleming buildings, and his partner in one of those projects bought the Equitable Building and will convert it to apartments and retail spaces. A group of Canadian investors bought the Partnership Building and remodeled it into a unique office environment. The same group bought Keck City Center.
Then came some real news. A group of individuals and businesses formed the Des Moines Redevelopment Co., pledged $9 million in loan guarantees, and bought a former Allied Insurance Co. building. It was the first of the organization’s efforts to provide more voltage to downtown development. Companies formed by Bill Knapp and Jim Cownie, also partners in the redevelopment company, also bought a nearby parking lot, with all of the purchases seeming to point toward the development of a convention hotel complex near the Iowa Events Center. Meanwhile, development company partner Wellmark Inc. joined with Polk County and the YMCA of Greater Des Moines to transfer ownership of two buildings, opening the way for expansion of county court services and a new home for the YMCA. Read full story
Des Moines Social Club finds a home
The Des Moines Social Club, backed by some blue-chip sponsors and aggressive executive leadership, submitted the winning $600,000 proposal to buy Fire Station No. 1 at Ninth and Mulberry streets. The structure will become a hub of cultural activity. Read full story
Interchanges: one approved, one done
After 10 years of tracking traffic, planning and lobbying, a $15 million interchange on Interstate 80 between Waukee and West Des Moines was approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
Local officials believe the cost could be lower, providing they get approval for a unique design called a converging diamond in which drivers do not cut across traffic when entering and exiting the highway. Developers and local officials are juiced by the prospect of residential and commercial growth in the area.
That project is in the planning stages, but another big interchange is open, this one providing more development opportunities in Ankeny, which already is bursting with projects. Read full story
Breakthrough on commercial property taxes breaks down
A big tax break for commercial and industrial properties seemed a real possibility when the Iowa Legislature convened in January, with Democrats and Republicans expressing optimism that a deal could be reached, even though an agreement on the issue had eluded lawmakers for several decades.
Instead, lawmakers went home without a bill, and commercial real estate remains taxed at 100 percent of its value. Commercial property taxes will return to the legislative agenda next year.
And speaking of Ankeny development
It’s tough to pick one project out of the many under way in Ankeny, but one caught a little more attention than normal early this year. Toro Co. announced that it would build a mega-sized distribution center on 30 acres of farmland near the East Mixmaster. Ryan Companies US Inc. bought the land and will construct and own the 450,000-square-foot building, which will be leased to Toro. When construction is completed, Toro will move warehousing and distribution operations from Minnesota and Nebraska to Ankeny. Read full story
The Depot at 4th, 100 4th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309 | (515) 288-3336 | © 2012 Business Record. All Rights Reserved. | Legal disclaimer