$63 Million Project to Bring New Housing, Retail Space to Drake Neighborhood

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Drake University is selling land adjacent to campus to make way for new housing and commercial space.

“More amenities, more activities, more life, more people, more vibrancy, around our campus for the benefit of our campus, the neighborhood and our city,” said Drake University President Marty Martin.

Drake is selling and leasing four acres of land between 24th Street and 25th Street and University Avenue and Carpenter Avenue.

It's a $63 million project that includes 300 residential units in several five-story apartment buildings, plus 30,000 feet of new retail space.

“This project is really about bringing others to live in the Drake Neighborhood. It’s not intended to be student housing. Certainly our students can lease residences there, but it’s really meant to be community living space,” said Martin.

“We're going to take down some blighted buildings, we're going to put up improved commercial area, we're going to put new parking in, alleviate a lot of the ground street parking. It's going to enhance the experience that people that go to Drake, parents that come visit their kids at Drake, it's going to mean so much to this community,” said Des Moines City Councilman Bill Gray.

Current plans call for the Varsity Theatre building to remain intact. Construction will begin next summer, with a full project completion in 2023.

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