The second and third levels of Mainframe Studios have been stripped to the concrete floors and ceiling, and work on installing new windows is expected to begin yet in July. Photo special to the Business Record

New windows to be installed in artist studio next week

WHAT: Completion of renovations of Mainframe Studios, which provides affordable workspaces for artists and low-cost office space for nonprofit arts groups. 
WHERE: 900 Keosauqua Way, Des Moines
OWNER: Des Moines Arts Inc., whose president is developer Justin Mandelbaum 
BACKGROUND AND UPDATE: Work is expected to begin next week on the installation of 90 new windows on the second and third floors at Mainframe Studio, which opened in late 2017. The work is expected to be completed by late August, said Siobhan Spain, Mainframe Studio director.

Once the windows are installed, construction of new artists’ studios will begin. Fifty-eight studios are expected to be completed by early 2021 on the third floor; 55 additional studios will be added on the second floor in late 2021. Also planned for this fall is a colorful makeover of the exterior of the concrete multistory building located on the northern edge of downtown Des Moines.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus slowed a push to raise funds for the renovations and exterior makeover. About $1.5 million is left to raise in a $5.5 million fundraising campaign, Spain said.

“When COVID hit, we had to make sure that the pledges we had were still going to come in,” she said. “It was good to hear from our largest supporters that they were still on board and that we should move full steam ahead and get the project done.”

Mainframe Studios is located in a 36-year-old, five-story building that originally housed Northwestern Bell Co.’s data center and, later, call centers for Qwest and then CenturyLink. 

The pandemic prompted Mainframe Studios to make plans to install a building-wide plasma ionization system to improve indoor air quality and protect against viruses, Spain said. 

Also, new studios will be built with ceiling-high walls rather than 10-foot-high walls, she said. The higher walls will also help to eliminate the spread of the virus and other germs.

A Commercial Real Estate Weekly feature in which updates are provided of projects underway in the Greater Des Moines area. Want to include an update about your project? Email: