New Housing Projects Changing Downtown Landscape

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- New hotels, grocery, retail and housing are making for a bustling downtown Des Moines.

“This is our biggest boom.  We kicked that downtown housing boom in the early and mid-2000s. The recession slowed things a bit, now we're coming back,” said Matt Anderson, assistant Des Moines city manager.

City leaders say nearly all of downtown's 6,000 units are occupied, but there's room to add another 1,300 to 1,500 to the market.

One of the city's many developments is City Square Lofts on Locust Street, which is halfway through construction. Many of the other projects are just starting to break ground or are in the early planning stages.

Anderson said the Des Moines City Council approved a new development plan Monday night for 219 East Grand Avenue in the East Village. The housing project consists of 98 units and street-level retail and restaurant space.

Over on Walnut Street, Timothy Schutte isn't just a​ tenant. He’s the new owner of the Kirkwood Hotel. He’s converting the 1930s building into 54 condos.

“There are about six to eight vacancies right now that we're trying to get painted and ready for the market to hit at the beginning of January,” Schutte said.

The Kirkwood Condos start out at $150,000, and Schutte said he and his family are hoping their real estate risk paid off.

“We're just kind of building on this momentum and there's not a whole lot of end in sight right now,” Anderson said.

The roughly 1,500 new housing spaces for rent or sale won't come on the market all at once. The projects are spaced out so they'll be move-in ready throughout 2016 and 2017.