The Opus Group of Minneapolis is proposing a multimillion-dollar commercial and residential development for a key piece of city-owned real estate in downtown Des Moines, city officials said Thursday.


The company, which has been a key player in several large-scale projects in Des Moines and elsewhere in Iowa, is proposing a mix of retail, market-rate housing, parking areas and a restaurant for property south of Court Avenue and between Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, and north of the Depot at Fourth.


The city began acquiring the properties in 2000, with purchases from Wells Fargo & Co., Norfolk Southern Corp. and Auto Park Corp. According to Polk County property records, the city has paid nearly $3 million for the land.


The City Council will consider a recommendation directing city staff to work with Opus on a formal development plan that would be presented at a later date. 
Though the Opus proposal is in its very early stages, Sherman Associates Inc., also of Minneapolis, is preparing for a nearly $17 million rehabilitation project for the Hotel Randolph, 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.