The Des Moines City Council will vote Monday on the preliminary terms of a development agreement that would lead to a $7.7 million historic renovation of the Argonne Apartment Building and its commercial units at 1723 Grand Ave. 

With the exception of first-floor commercial units, the building is vacant and carries an assessed value of $1,000. 

The 100-year-old structure once provided housing for workers at the Ford auto factory where the Des Moines Public School District's Central Campus is now located. It also has served as an auto garage hybrid with residential and retail components, according to a staff report to the City Council. 

A combination of declining scale tax abatements followed by tax increment finance revenues would provide an estimated $1.97 million in city incentives for the project, which calls for 45 studio and one-bedroom apartments along with commercial uses. Over that same time, the city expects to receive $2.7 million in property tax revenues. 

Terms of the development agreement eventually will contain an affordable housing component for at least 10 percent of the apartments. The developer, Joe Cordaro’s Benchmark Real Estate Group, plans to seek state and federal historic tax credits. 

Work is expected to begin this summer with a 2020 completion target. The city staff report on the project is available 
here.