DES MOINES, Iowa – Ryan Doyle says his development company, Blackbird Investments, quickly fell in love with the 114-year-old historic building at 130 East Third Street in Des Moines when they first looked at it three years ago.
“We specialize in adaptive reuse of old buildings; turning them into something new, breathing new life into them,” Doyle said.
And the “new life” for this century-old building – once a warehouse – Doyle speaks of is also something entirely new for the state: Market One, the new name for the building, is the first commercial Net Zero Energy Building in Iowa. That means it produces more energy than it consumes, through high-efficiency mechanical systems, geothermal wells, and a large solar panel parking structure canopy across the street. Additional solar panels are installed on Market One’s rooftop, as well.
“In addition to that, it will be a LEED Platinum building, with special attention to indoor air quality, LED lighting, and good work conditions for all tenants in the building,” he said.
Breaking ground in April 2014, construction is set to be complete by April of this year, and 75 percent of the building’s office tenants are already filled. Kitchen & Bath Ideas, a first-floor tenant of the building before Blackbird Investments purchased the property, has even remained open throughout the construction process, while other tenants are expected to move in in the coming months. Doyle says his company has relied on historic and renewable tax credits, in addition to city incentives, to fund this $12 million renovation.
“To do a building like this right, and not just do a lipstick renovation, it requires significant investment,” he said. “The building is 114 years old, and this is really what it takes to breathe new life into a building of this age.”
While some residential and governmental buildings have claimed Net Zero-status before in Iowa, Doyle says to pioneer energy efficiency in commercial buildings is crucial to steering other developers in an environmentally-friendly direction.
“We feel we’re going to be a building people point to as, ‘Hey, this is possible. Let’s go down this route,'” he said.