Quest to Find Site for New Federal Courthouse Continues

Federal courthouse in Des Moines. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa – The process for identifying a site in Des Moines for a new federal courthouse is moving forward.

Wednesday, the U.S. General Services Administration released more about its next steps in finding a location to build the $132 million courthouse.

“To ensure that GSA meets its obligation to procure a site that represents the best value to the government and the American taxpayers, GSA will conduct renewed market research within the city limits of Des Moines in an attempt to identify additional site alternatives outside the floodplain,” a news release from the GSA said.

Four sites had been previously identified as possibilities:

  • An area bounded on the North by E. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, on the south by Scott Avenue, on the east by SE 4th St, and on the west by the Des Moines River
  • An area north of E. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, south of the railroad tracks, bounded on the east by SE 4th St, on the west by the Des Moines River, and excluding the block bounded by the railroad tracks, SE 3rd, SE 4th, and E. Market.
  • 110 East Court Avenue
  • 101 Locust Street

In July, the GSA announced its preferred site was 101 Locust Street, where the former Riverfront YMCA building used to stand.

The city, which objected to a loss of tax revenue from the site if the federal government decided to build there, agreed to buy the property from Hubbell for $5.2 million if the company can’t come up with a plan to develop the site before the end of May 2018. City leaders say that money would come from cash on hand or through bonds.

That forced the GSA to re-consider other sites.

The GSA said it also hopes to have environmental studies on the north and south of East Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway sites finished in December.