The Polk County Board of Supervisors will consider a downtown land swap on Tuesday that would turn a downtown office building into a new county court building and transform the shuttered convention center into a new "Wellmark YMCA," The Des Moines Register reported.
The proposed land swap is "a tremendous first step, a very positive move," for downtown Des Moines, said Gene Meyer, president of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.
The proposed agreement, scheduled to go before county supervisors and be finalized in roughly three months, calls for the county to trade the now-empty Polk County Convention Complex and $500,000 in cash for the former J.C. Penney building at 222 Fifth Ave., which is owned by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
That transfer would immediately lead to the purchase of the convention complex by the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, according to a five-page agreement obtained by the Register.
According to that agreement, the YMCA would have four years to pay off the purchase, which would be guaranteed by the Des Moines Redevelopment Co., a group of downtown business leaders who helped coordinate the land swap.