City of Des Moines Make Surprise Endorsement for 5th and Walnut Project

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The parking ramp on 5th and Walnut in Des Moines closed on Sunday. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  A last minute proposal for the soon to be vacant site at 5th and Walnut in downtown Des Moines has won over city leaders.

On Friday morning the Des Moines Office of Economic Development recommended that the Des Moines City Council support a plan from developer Blackbird Investments to construct a tower on the site.  That plan was submitted just last Friday to the city.  It calls for building a 35 story tower at a cost of $136 million including condos, ground floor retail, a 150 room hotel, an indoor/outdoor music venue and a 700 stall parking garage.

The announcement comes as a surprise for competing developers Mandelbaum Properties.  They have been planning a retail and residential tower they’d named “The Fifth” for more than a year now.

The City Council does not have to accept today’s recommendation however historically they have done so.  A final vote on the project will be made at the City Council meeting on April 3rd.

Blackbird Investments is also the developer behind the renovation and reconstruction of the former Younkers Building in downtown Des Moines.