Two tenants to relocate and occupy old dealership downtown, add restaurant
BY ERIC ROWLEY
Two local firms will join forces to give the vacant Stivers auto dealership a green face lift.
Simonson & Associates Architects LLC and Gilmor & Doyle Ltd. have major green renovation plans for the 24,028-square-foot building at 1717 Ingersoll Ave. Both businesses could be housed in the building as soon as this summer.
Project manager Eric Wessels of Simonson & Associates said they're hoping to achieve a silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines. The building will have a new reflective roof to reduce solar absorption, a "gray water" recycling system that will collect rainwater for use in the building's toilets, a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, energy-efficient entrances, 10 skylights, a resurfaced parking lot and a lighting system controlled by sensors to adjust the interior lighting for peak efficiency.
For Justin Doyle, manager at Gilmor & Doyle, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is a highlight for the building. Doyle said the system can recover lost heat from the building and will use an array of room sensors to heat or cool each room individually depending on the number of occupants.
Both firms are planning on integrating designs and products that they use and sell into the building. "We're looking forward to showing off our skills to our customers," said Doyle. "It's not very typical to do, and it's a unique opportunity."
The architecture firm will occupy 10,000 square feet of space in the building, and Gilmor & Doyle will occupy 9,900 square feet. Both firms plan on adding staff once they're fully moved in.
Wessels added that the old auto showroom will be converted into a restaurant. Details could not be released on the future eatery, but Wessels said he has fielded inquiries from many interested parties including one that moved its business plan ahead by an entire year to fill the possible spot.
Both firms are located in Urbandale and when the move is complete will have more than double their current space.
Wessels said the remodeling of the building could start as soon as this month, and the cost of the environmentally friendly project is estimated at $1.4 million.
Wessels sees the new spot in Des Moines as a great location for the growing architecture firm.
"We picked this building because of its location," Wessels said. "We wanted to move downtown and wanted to be a part of that mix."
Doyle said he's thrilled about the move from Urbandale to refurbished new building downtown.
"Our whole staff is excited about moving into the core," he said. "It's closer to our client, it has a high visibility and closer proximity to entertainment. It's just a new cool building."
wmjindsm wrote:They have really started some work this week on the lot. Today they are digging up the black-topped front of the property.
Aulus wrote:Why is the city not forcing them to do the right thing? Why is the city pushing their big "spruce up Ingersoll" agenda, yet letting these corporate slumlords have their way?
September 19, 2008--There are big plans for the former Stivers Lincoln-Mercury and Crescent Chevrolet buildings in downtown Des Moines. The transformations will take a lot of public money to turn the former showrooms into office space and a restaurant.
Across Ingersoll Avenue, Jesse Van Der Pol has great views of downtown -- except when he looks to the north. "Broken down car dealerships that are no longer there," he explains. Weeds and broken windows took over the old Stivers building. The former Crescent Chevrolet location is in better shape, but sits empty. "It's too bad because they're both really cool buildings and they could probably do some really neat stuff with them," Van Der Pol said.
Developers are tackling both projects and the government is helping them out. The Stivers project is getting a $550,000 grant from the city. The Crescent project receives $465,000 plus state funds and a Polk County interest-free loan. It all adds up to about $1.1 million.
Des Moines economic development administrator Matt Anderson says public funds on the front end will pay off down the road. "In year seven, 100% back to the city and to the taxpayers and that is a higher level that in ever was and ever would have been as a car dealership," Anderson says of the Crescent deal.
The Crescent building is planned to become the new headquarters for Terrus Real Estate. Stivers will become the new offices for Simonson and Associates Architecture, but the old showroom will become a new restaurant.
Trina Braafhart rents the Gateway Lofts to people like the idea of improving their view. She's very excited for the new eatery. "Walk across the street to have a nice meal or to even order take-out. I think the residents that live here will be ecstatic about that," she said.
Work has already begun on the Stivers building, which should be finished by the end of the year. The Des Moines City Council has one more vote to finalize funding for the Crescent building.
Aulus wrote:I see that the Simonson group is now in the process of building what looks like a retaining wall on the Ingersoll side of the property, cutting back a bit into the hill to do so.
Good, as the usual practrice until now was to just slap a new layer of asphalt over it and have done with it for five or so years, only to do the same again. This was true when the property was a Ford dealership, then Conway Buick and then Stiver's. It looks to be a definite improvement.
However, the parking on the 17th Street side still looks like crap. Is it just too damn much trouble to send in a couple of guys with a lawn mower and a weed whacker to tidy it up?
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