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Downtown Development Boom Good for Renters, Hubbell Survey Says

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The Hy-Vee in downtown Des Moines will open February 28th. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  For downtown dwellers–and those who dream to be one–2017 seems to be the year for Des Moines, according to a survey.

CBRE/Hubbell Commercial’s 2017 market survey suggests downtown rental rates will stabilize this year, meaning no more rent spiking up. With the number of apartment units set to double in the area, wait lists may be a thing of the past, too.

“I think the big story is that downtown is growing,” said Ryan Jensen, Vice President of CBRE/Hubbell Commercial. “Currently there is about 2,000 apartments in inventory downtown. This year we’re looking to double that; there’s 1,967 units planned to be delivered in 2017 in downtown Des Moines, with another 1,400 on the drawing board for next year.”

But some vacancies right now have other developers concerned about building too much too fast.

“We need to be prudent,” said Troy Strawhecker, partner at Premier Real Estate Services, which owns The Lyon apartments in the East Village. “We can certainly be dreamers and take risks and those sorts of things. But my overall statement was, the last five years have been so wonderful in terms of new developments, great choices for tenants. It’s my guess that we need to learn from this data that we need to maybe slow a few of those things down.”

But overall, Jensen says the survey shows downtown development is not stopping any time soon.

“2017 is going to really be a good test of the market, see how strong it really is,” he said. “But not taking away from that, downtown is hot. People want to live downtown, people will continue to move downtown, and we’ll continue to develop , the pace is going to just stabilize a little bit.”