Brooks said later, "This project has changed drastically, and if I had this one on the table compared to the one we turned down, I would take the one we turned down," referring to a plan submitted by two Minneapolis companies, The Lander Group Inc. and Sherman Associates Inc. "I wouldn?t mind rebidding the whole thing or going to the next guy in line and asking if he?s still interested," Brooks said.
Court Avenue: Renovation of the Spaghetti Works building along Court Avenue will begin in the spring and take a year to complete. The work is part of a $36 million complex that will include housing, retail and entertainment. City leaders have approved an agreement with developer Jim Hubbell for 51 apartments on the upper floors of the four-story restaurant building. Hubbell also wants to build a total of 92 apartments and condominiums in two buildings near Court Avenue and Fourth Street. His partner, Harry Bookey, plans to develop a nightclub and restaurant at 319 Court Ave.
Court Ave. project again hits obstacle
State won't give developers $3.5 million in financing
By DONNELLE ELLER
REGISTER BUSINESS WRITER
March 3, 2005
The $36 million redevelopment of Court Avenue is again in limbo after developers failed to win $3.5 million in state financing - the project's second rejection.
Developer Jim Hubbell said Wednesday his company is weighing its next step after learning it will not receive $2.7 million in tax credits from the Iowa Finance Authority or $800,000 from the state HOME program.
Both are federally funded programs to encourage development of low-income housing. About $78 million has been doled out through those two programs and one other during the past three days.
Last year, the Hubbell project won $3.7 million in tax credits for redevelopment of the Spaghetti Works building at 302 Court Ave., but lost $5.36 million it sought in tax credits for new apartments.
"We're trying to figure out what went wrong," Hubbell said. "It's hard to know right now what we'll do. . . . We'll regroup."
Hubbell and partner Harry Bookey had planned to redevelop the upper floors of the Spaghetti Works building into 51 apartments, and construct 92 apartments and condominiums in two buildings. The project also includes a nightclub and restaurant at 319 Court Ave.
The developers sought the tax credits for 53 of the apartments.
Monica Fischer, spokes- woman for the Iowa Finance Authority, said the Court Avenue proposal failed to meet cost requirements set by the state. The 53 apartments each averaged about $28,500 more than the cap allowed - a total of $1.51 million.
"It leaves a big hole in the financing for the apartment building," Rick Clark, Des Moines' assistant city manager. "I'm amazed and disappointed the project didn't get the tax credits."
Clark said it's unlikely the city will be able to pick up a larger tab for the project. The city has already increased its contribution to nearly $7 million.
Problems with financing could kill the proposed Hubbell-Bookey deal, but Clark said he believed the Court Avenue project will eventually be completed.
Rick Tollakson , chief executive of Hubbell Realty, said the company will appeal the state's decision.
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