The Valley West Inn at 3535 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines would be converted to housing under a proposal heard this morning by a subcommittee of the West Des Moines City Council. Photo courtesy of Google 

A West Des Moines hotel damaged by fire last fall would be converted to housing for people in need of supportive services under a proposal heard today by a West Des Moines City Council subcommittee. 

Greater Des Moines Supportive Housing, a nonprofit group that provides housing and services to people facing housing barriers, is considering purchasing property at 3535 Westown Parkway that includes the Valley West Inn. The structure was damaged in a fire last fall and is in need of repairs.

The proposed redevelopment project “is not an apartment building, it’s not a shelter,” Jim Beal, the group’s president told members of the council’s development and planning subcommittee today. “It’s in between there. [Residents] will have a permanent place to live and will be surrounded by the housing supportive services that they need.”

Potential residents include people leaving foster care and people with brain injuries, Beal said. Services provided to residents would include those related to physical, mental and occupational needs as well as food and clothing pantries. In addition, round-the-clock security would be provided, he said.

In a related matter, Greater Des Moines Supportive Housing is asking the city for up to $2.84 million that would be used to help purchase and renovate the property. The council at its 5:30 p.m. meeting today will vote on whether to provide $840,000 from the city’s Workforce Rental Housing Program and Woodland Hills Tax Increment Finance district to the group.

The nonprofit group is proposing to purchase and redevelop the property, which is estimated to cost $21.8 million, according to information provided to the City Council. The group plans to apply for funds from other sources, take on $2 million in debt, and raise $1 million through a capital campaign.
The cost to upgrade each hotel unit is estimated at $153,732, “considerably less than the new construction and considered by the industry a very good price to develop affordable housing projects,” according to information provided to the council.

Valley West Inn was constructed in 1972 and includes 142 units. The building is described as being in “below normal” condition on the Polk County assessor’s website.

The property, which includes the building and land, is valued at $1.9 million. In 2019, it was valued at $2.7 million, according to the assessor.
A fire last October damaged the structure. The portion of the building where the fire broke out had water, smoke and fire damage. Other portions of the building had smoke damage.  

The property is owned by Valley West Inn LLC, which records show is managed by Penny Bassman. 

The building is unoccupied, according to city officials.

Before the proposed project can move forward, zoning must be changed, members of the council subcommittee were told today. The property is currently zoned regional commercial. The zoning would need to be changed to allow uses related to residential care, city staff said.

Council members Matt McKinney and Renee Hardman both indicated support of changing the zoning to allow the Greater Des Moines Supportive Housing to redevelop the property.