Concerns by at least four Des Moines City Council members about a proposal to transform a former west-side school into an entertainment venue have the potential to quash the $8 million project, the project’s developer said.

City Councilman Chris Coleman, in an interview with the Business Record, said he is worried that events will frequently be held at the former Franklin Junior High School site that last into the early morning hours and are disruptive to the neighborhood.

"That is a situation I could not accept," he said.

Coleman said he has asked that restrictions be placed on the rezoning request of the 12-acre site that would prohibit bars from being open until 2 a.m. and that limitations be placed on the frequency of events that can be held at the venue.

"I don’t intend to approve [the rezoning request] unless it gets amended," Coleman said.  

Des Moines-area developer Jeff Young wants to put a boutique hotel; a micro-brewery; one or two restaurants; one or two bars or taverns; a cafe; an outdoor movie venue; up to six auditoriums with seating for between 100 and 4,000 people; and meeting, office and retail space.

If the council wants to limit the operation hours of restaurants or bars, "that’s probably not something I’m going to be willing to do," Young said. "If need be, I’ll take the building back to its tax-exempt status and operate it as a church. I need to find a way to keep it afloat."

To learn more about how the vote might shake out, how council members feel about the project and what concerns are leading to the uncertain future, continue reading.