From the DSM Business Record:
Rehab in store for Hotel Fort Des Moines
By Kent Darr
The Hotel Fort Des Moines is being evaluated for a "soup to nuts" renovation, owner Jeffrey Hunter said.
The 89-year-old structure at 10th and Walnut streets has undergone a series of partial updates over the last decade, the most recent announced in 1999 when Hunter received $400,000 in city financing to complete a $2.6 million upgrade.
Hunter, who bought the hotel from a partnership of which he was a member in June 1999, said he is working with an architect and contractor to establish costs for the project.
"We want to do it 100 percent, rather than take an incremental approach," he said.
It is possible that the hotel will close during the renovation, but a decision on that will not be made until after the first of the year, Hunter said.
Hunter said he is evaluating funding options for the project.
The hotel has accounted for its share of state and national history. In 1969 in the hotel's ballroom, Vice President Spiro Agnew launched a verbal attack on television newscasters that evolved into a crusade against the news media. A decade earlier, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev booked a room - the presidential suite - during a tour of Iowa.
The intersection of 10th and Walnut has been a focal point of redevelopment efforts downtown. The 13-story Davis Brown Tower, which counts Hunter as an investor, occupies space where the Hotel Fort Des Moines' parking ramp once stood.