Brick building with lettering saying Headquarters Des Moines Social ClubA buyer has been found for the historic Firehouse No. 1 campus at Ninth and Mulberry streets with an offer being accepted from Matt Abbott, owner of Abbott Properties, Abbott Events and Abbott Hospitality Group.

Details of the agreement were not immediately disclosed, but the former Des Moines Social Club campus has an assessed value of $2.8 million, according to information from the Polk County Assessor’s Office.

The Des Moines Social Club Transition Board of Directors announced in April that the property would be sold with proceeds being used to retire outstanding debt obligations and re-invested to support arts and culture in the community.

The transition board was formed in 2019 to reimagine the business model of the campus. The club’s mission was to provide arts and culture programming as a catalyst to create community engagement. In its review, the board found the existing model and continued operation of the facility could not be sustained, and the decision to sell the property was made.

According to a news release, the board sought a buyer who could maximize the property’s potential. That was found in Kansas City, Mo.-based Abbott Properties, board representatives said in the release.

“While selling the campus was a difficult decision, the sustainability of the historic firehouse and the opportunity to continue to support arts, culture and community have been our top priorities,” Rob Feeney, transition board chairman, said in the release. “We are very proud to be hitting these priorities and we are extremely confident in the future of this space as we welcome the Abbott team to Des Moines.”

Matt Abbott said the historic Firehouse No. 1 property is a perfect fit for his company’s passion of repurposing historic buildings “to be places of creativity and community.”

“With our expertise in restoring historic buildings and creating community gathering places, we are committed to keeping the integrity and the authenticity of the original building and showcase it, while repurposing the space,” he said in the release.

Abbott said the initial plan is to revive the Viaduct Art Gallery, using the first floor for commercial and retail space, and the second floor as upscale event space. The courtyard will be used for outdoor music events and the Kum & Go Theater Building will be transformed into a boutique speakeasy concept.

The historic building was turned into an arts and cultural center after the city handed it over to the club in 2012. As part of that agreement, any future sale of the property is contingent on approval by the Des Moines City Council. The council will consider the sale of the property on Monday, Sept. 13. If approved, the sale could close in the next 60 days.