Sherman Associates Inc., a Minneapolis-based real estate developer that has been renovating old buildings and adding new construction in downtown Des Moines since 2004, will open its first metro area office this spring.

The company is one of five developers that have presented proposals to the city for the build-out of a 2.3-acre lot at Fourth Street and Court Avenue downtown, and it is in the approval process for the initial stages of a $27.5 million residential and commercial project in 125 acres it owns south of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

One of Sherman's projects was the $17 million renovation of the Rumely Building at 104 S.W. Fourth Ave. near the Science Center of Iowa. The project opened as Rumely Lofts in 2010, with 66 income-restricted apartment units. Those apartments are 100 percent leased, and the company has sought commercial tenants for more than 5,000 square feet on the building's first floor.

On April 1, website designer Happy Medium will occupy most of a 3,586-square-foot bay on the south side of the building. The Kemp & Sease law firm will lease a 1,759-square-foot space on the north side of the building.

Sherman will move its Iowa and Missouri regional operations into 700 square feet on the south side of the building, said Jackie Nickolaus, the company's vice president of development. In addition to Nickolaus, Sherman will have a regional property manager, a compliance manager and a maintenance supervisor in the office. The company also has created the position of construction manager for the Des Moines market.

Nickolaus said that during the little more than a decade that the company has been active in Des Moines, its crew has worked out of "closets, storage rooms and home offices."

"We finally have the amount of staff necessary to open an office," she said.

The staff has plenty to keep it busy.

In addition to The Nexus project south of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, Sherman also plans a $17 million rehabilitation project for the Randolph Hotel, Youngerman Building and Earle & LeBosquait Building at the northwest corner of Fourth and Court. The project would result in 55 residential units and about 7,500 square feet of first-floor commercial space.

Since 2004, the company has brought 286 rental units to the downtown market from $50 million in construction at Rumely, Vine Street Lofts and Metro Lofts.