An incentive package for the redevelopment of a historic building in downtown Des Moines will be considered at Monday’s City Council meeting.
A couple of new reports indicate downtown Des Moines can again support development of affordable apartments.
Last fall, a Denver consultant advised the state to stop providing tax credits that support affordable housing in downtown Des Moines. The report said the market would soon be saturated, given projects already under development, conversion of condominiums to rental properties and large layoffs.
In new reports, a different consultant, VWB Research of Columbus, Ohio, looked at projects both downtown and near the city's core. Its report says it expects nearly 96 percent occupancy of about 1,000 existing and planned tax credit-supported apartments.
The projects' capture rates are "excellent and do not limit potential development in the area," the consultant says.
• Support a preliminary agreement with ND 22 Fleming, LLC for a roughly $1.6 million incentive package to aid the redevelopment of the historic Fleming Building, 604 Walnut St. Jake Christensen, a managing member of the company, plans to convert some 60,000 square feet of vacant office space in the building into 111 market rate apartments. The project will benefit downtown by adding housing units and taking vacant office space from the market, city officials say. There will be approximately 1.5 million square feet of office space when insurers Wellmark and Aviva relocate to new corporate campuses. The total project cost is estimated at $14.7 million. The city’s assistance would come via annual grant payments funded by economic development money from the downtown tax increment finance district. The grant payments — used to cover a financing gap for the project — would be spread over 10 years.
Developers of old buildings quickly snag tax credits
Walking through the Fleming Building in downtown Des Moines, Mike Nelson says the new apartments’ living space will be larger than in the developer’s earlier projects, making up about half of each unit.
Surveys of existing tenants show renters, in their 20s and 30s, “want to stay connected,” said Nelson, who is redeveloping the 102-year-old building into 95 market-rate apartments. They want space where they hang out with friends, rather than in kitchens and bedrooms. “They’re interested in living efficiently,” he said.
Across the state, historic renovation projects like Nelson’s are getting a boost from an expanded tax credit that’s been quickly tapped out
DMRyan wrote:...and the Mitchell Transmission Building, Rocket Transfer Lofts, Des Moines Building and Younker's Building to boot. Could be a much better year for projects downtown if all of these renovations take off.
dsmspence wrote: Not many people realize historically and architecturally significant this building is.
DMRyan wrote:Curious to know if there were any commercial tenants left by the time the renovation demo work got going? Perhaps an office user or two, but weren't the first floor tenant bays both empty?
urbanite17 wrote:The site does look great and this will be a great addition to the downtown housing market! Has anyone heard of potential retail/commercial tenants looking to locate in here? Will those current tenants stay?
The location is great downtown, especially with the expected redevelopment of Walnut St. coming after the transit mall is taken out.
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