The Amazon fulfillment center under construction in Bondurant. The building permit issued for the structure was valued at $295.5 million, records show. Photo by Kathy A. Bolten

The value of commercial building permits for new construction issued in five Des Moines-area communities reached record levels in 2019, data compiled from the cities shows.

Commercial building permits issued by Bondurant had the largest value at more than $303.2 million, thanks to the Amazon fulfillment center under construction at 500 32nd St. S.W., east of U.S. Highway 65. The value of the permit issued for the center was $295.5 million, city documents show.

Overall, commercial building permits with values totaling more than $971 million were issued by 12 Central Iowa communities, data collected from the cities shows. The number of permits issued totaled 209. (Information from Altoona is not included because officials could not provide data for just new construction.)

"We have no reason to believe that the commercial market in Central Iowa will remain anything but robust and will continue to be an opportunity for new businesses to thrive," Ben Hammes, spokesperson for Master Builders of Iowa told the Business Record. "From all indications, capital remains available — a strong indicator for business.

"Like most industries, we remain concerned about the political environment in Washington and the potential impacts of languishing tariffs." Workforce and staffing also continue to be a challenge, he said.

Waukee was among the communities with record building permit values. In 2019, the city issued 23 commercial building permits valued at $64.89 million, records show. That amount exceeded the previous record of $39.9 million set in 2018.

Among the commercial building permits issued in 2019 by Waukee was the $25.4 million Fleet Farm under construction at 1300 S.E. Kettestone Road, the $6.3 million Sleep Inn Hotel under construction at 2885 Grand Prairie Parkway and a $3.3 million Aldi’s that opened in November at 1030 Hickman Road.
2019 commercial building permits

The following shows the number of commercial building permits issued by area cities in calendar year 2019 as well as the value of the permits.

(Altoona is not included because it could not provide information for just new construction.)

To see data from the past five years, click here.
Dan Dutcher, Waukee’s economic development director, said he expects the pace of development to continue in the city, barring an economic downturn. Development will continue along Grand Prairie Parkway and along Hickman Road near where the proposed Apple data center site is located.

While Dutcher said he didn’t envision many other big box retailers like Fleet Farm locating in the city, he does believe commercial projects that provide personal services to the community’s residents will continue to flock to Waukee. The U.S. Census Bureau in July estimated Waukee’s population at 22,810. City officials expect the 2020 census to show Waukee’s population exceeding 25,000.

"Our population is going to continue to grow," Dutcher said. "We have opportunities for more commercial growth."

The other cities setting records in the value of commercial building permits issued for new construction were Clive, Norwalk and Pleasant Hill. Altoona issued a record high $219 million in commercial building permits but the figure includes additions and remodels.

RELATED ARTICLE: For a look at the numbers of residential building permits issued in the metro area, click here.

Construction of a Sleep Inn Hotel is underway at 2885 Grand Prairie Parkway in Waukee. Photo courtesy of city of Waukee.