At least they're not lame ass mortgage or government workers.
I wouldn't be surprised if we see some turnover on the first floor of those buildings. I talked to one of the ladies at the Bargain Basket recently, and she said they they had been trying to get a long-term lease with the former owner for a while, but he refused to sign one. That's usually a bad sign.
By the way, this is already happening elsewhere in the East Village, too. The Atlantean is being forced out of their space because their new landlord immediately doubled their rent.
The belly dancers at Olympic Flame for the weekend dinners are a plus too
Investing in East Village
Invest five figures or more in a college education, and ultimately, the scenario goes, it will pay off.
Well, Tim Rypma just couldn't wait. For a class project two years ago at the University of Iowa, Rypma, 25, came up with a business plan to buy and renovate four buildings along Grand Avenue in East Village and kept in close contact with the owner.
"I called Jim Boyt practically every week and started talking to people about how you go about buying, rehabbing and marketing a building," Rypma said. He persuaded childhood friend Zack Eubank Ã¢â‚¬â€ a law school and MBA student at Drake University Ã¢â‚¬â€ to join in the project.
"It seems like we've been talking about it so long and now it's finally happening," Eubank, 24, said.
The pair bought the buildings, which range in age from 137 to 115 years, according to the Polk County assessor's office, at 512, 516, 518 and 524 Grand Ave. from Boyt for $719,000. They plan to spend an additional $250,000 renovating the buildings over the next five years, turning the existing upper-level apartments into condominiums.
"We love the East Village," said Rypma, who also lives in the area. "We love the character of it."
Sunday, September 11, 2005
New East Village property owners wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give up
By Jim Pollock
Two nice young men came to Jim Boyt in 2003 and said they wanted to buy his buildings in the East Village. Well, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re really not for sale, Boyt replied. But he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to discourage them, so he said they could come back.
As it turned out, discouragement was not an issue.
Tim Rypma and Zack Eubank, friends since middle school at St. AugustinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, wanted to get involved in real estate together. They were still in college, their parents called the idea crazy and they had no cash Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but on the other hand, they really, really wanted to give it a try.
Rypma, 25, is a bundle of energy who has competed in triathlons, once lived in Nepal and studied entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa. He also spent a summer as an intern at Knapp Properties Inc., whose president, Gerry Neugent, describes him as Ã¢â‚¬Å“a real go-getter, a real self-starter.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Eubank, 24, studied finance at Marquette University in Milwaukee and now is working on a law degree and an M.B.A. at Drake University; Rypma refers to him as Ã¢â‚¬Å“the voice of reasonÃ¢â‚¬Â in their partnership.
Together they kept pursuing the idea of buying four old buildings in the 500 block of East Grand Avenue. Boyt, 78, bought the adjacent brick structures individually over a span from 1976 to about 1980; he began working on a revival of the downtown area east of the Des Moines River even earlier than that.
Rypma and Eubank Ã¢â‚¬â€œ now operating as RE Properties Ã¢â‚¬â€œ started with an offer of less than $650,000 and a 15-page purchase agreement. Boyt turned down the offer and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bother to read such a hefty document.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They kept coming back with different offers and finally worked it up to a figure I would accept, with provisions,Ã¢â‚¬Â Boyt said. The final offer was $719,000 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ wrapped up in two or three pages -- and the provisions mainly dealt with preserving the historic nature of the buildings, which date back as far as 1878. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would feel badly if someone modernized them,Ã¢â‚¬Â Boyt said.
Rypma and Eubank established a line of credit at a bank and came up with 20 percent of the cash purchase. The rest came from two silent partners, including Zack Gaskell, who attended Dowling Catholic High School with the duo and now lives in California.
The buildings house 13 tenants, including ground-floor businesses The Bargain Basket, the Olympic Flame restaurant, the CollectorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Shop, JB Construction, Dunbar-Jones PLC, KhamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jewelry and James OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Malley Boyt & Co. Seven second-floor apartments probably will be converted into residential condominium units at a gradual pace. The buyers expect to spend $250,000 on renovation in the next few years.
The project isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t their full-time occupation; both work at West Glen Town Center in West Des Moines, Eubank as an intern and Rypma as an assistant leasing manager.
Selling his buildings was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“tremendously emotional thing for me,Ã¢â‚¬Â Boyt said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“but I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just as well to get some bright young chaps involved. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the kind, I think, who will make good things happen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All of our friends are leaving (Central Iowa),Ã¢â‚¬Â Rypma said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We really want Des Moines to be a fun place to live, and attract people to the East Village. Des Moines has huge potential.Ã¢â‚¬Â
D.M. targets buildings in East Village under eminent domain rules
'I'm going to fight tooth and nail,' says business owner
By JASON CLAYWORTH
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
September 12, 2005
City leaders say they will force a Des Moines business owner to sell two buildings in the burgeoning East Village area of downtown because he has failed to make upgrades to the property.
The move would be the city's first use of a U.S. Supreme Court-granted power to wrest control of private property and put it in the hands of developers as a way to boost the tax base.
Property rights advocates warn the action could pave the way for countless forced property sales.
"I'm going to fight tooth and nail," said Brad Hamilton, who owns 422 and 424 E. Locust St. Ã¢â‚¬â€ a T-shirt printing business and ZZZ Records. His buildings "impair the redevelopment" of the East Village, according to city officials.
The East Village in the past five years has been transformed from a mix of buildings, some vacant, to a collection of shops, restaurants, loft apartments and condominiums.
The improvements received a helping hand when the city pumped more than $11 million into the area just west of the Capitol for aesthetic improvements and developer incentives.
Hamilton's buildings passed an inspection in 2000.
But city officials in 2002 set guidelines for renovations and targeted about a dozen East Village buildings. Owners who failed to make improvements were told they would face eminent domain, which is the government's power to force land sales when property is considered necessary for public improvements.
"The idea is to save these buildings," the assistant city manager, Rick Clark, said at the time.
Most of the property owners have completed major renovations. City leaders, however, say Hamilton's buildings and a third, at 434 E. Locust owned by Kirk Blunck, "remain in a blighted condition."
Hamilton submitted a plan in April for $12,000 in repairs. City officials said it lacked detail.
Clark sent letters on Aug. 26 that gave Hamilton and Blunck 10 days to act. The letters did not mention specifically what needed to be fixed, but Blunck responded with a plan for almost $105,000 of improvements within the next year.
Hamilton initially balked, but plans to meet again with city officials this week.
The buildings were boarded up when he purchased them about five years ago. Hamilton says he has already updated plumbing, electrical work and floors, in addition to outside work on the buildings' facades.
He believes influential people who want his property have pressured city leaders to harass him.
"Do you think I'm going to let them steal my property? No way," he said.
Clark last week acknowledged that work has been done on Hamilton's buildings but said the improvements pale in comparison to others in the East Village area.
"I think what we're really looking for is a plan," Clark said. "I haven't personally gone through the buildings so I'm not sure exactly what all the conditions are inside."
Attorney Bill Lillis represents several property owners in the East Village, including Iowa State Bank Chief Executive John Burgeson and Basil Prosperi Bakery's Steve Logsdon.
Lillis urged the council on June 6 "to move without delay" and force Hamilton to make additional improvements.
Lillis on Aug. 17 submitted a client's offer to buy Hamilton's properties. Hamilton turned down the $450,000 offer.
City Councilman Archie Brooks said he will propose action within the next month to move forward with eminent domain proceedings.
He said the $450,000 offer is far more than what the city will give Hamilton. The properties are valued at $206,000, up almost $70,000 since 2001, according to county records.
"We're not asking him to do anything else than what others have already done," Brooks said. "We're not going to let this die. We've got people standing in line to buy those buildings over there."
Eminent domain powers for generations were used almost exclusively to force land sales for roads, bridges and public buildings, said Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation, a nonprofit policy group in Los Angeles.
Politicians abuse the power to achieve goals that have nothing to do with the public good, Moore said this summer, shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that cities can use eminent domain to help economic development.
"Taking people's property away for a public interest is one thing, but taking it away to give to another use that will pay more taxes is terrible," Moore said. "That means that nobody's property is safe."
At least six East Village property owners declined to comment specifically about Hamilton's situation, but none acknowledged complaints about the property. Brooks and Clark say they have received frequent complaints.
Property owner Bill Sexton said the beauty of the neighborhood is its eclectic mix of historic buildings and businesses, such as Hamilton's record store.
"I've been in that building and it's not in bad condition," he said.
Bryan Smith, manager of Blazing Saddle at 416 E. Sixth St. and a board member of the East Village neighborhood association, said his group has no problem with the condition of Hamilton's buildings. He said he is troubled by the city's threats.
"If they deem it viable to do something else with your building, they can consider anything an eyesore," Smith said. "Really, nobody is safe and especially the small people and business owners like us."
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