Dec 14, 2021 - Real Estate

First look: Dogtown's Theater Plaza in Des Moines

An illustration of Des Moines' planned Theater Plaza.
A space for summer outdoor movies just north of the Varsity Cinema is among some of Theater Plaza plans. Illustration courtesy of Slingshot Architecture/Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission

Des Moines zoning officials will consider plans on Thursday for Theater Plaza, which is part of a $63 million project to redevelop an area off Drake University's campus.

Why it matters: It's a big piece to the emerging Dogtown business district.

  • It would help create a walkable, vibrant hub to an area frequented by roughly 5,000 students and hundreds of thousands of annual visitors.

What's happening: A portion of the property must be rezoned to allow for the planned mixed-use development, which includes 300 apartment units and retail space.

  • City staff have already recommended approval.

Details: For the development, Drake will sell or lease about two city blocks between 25th and 24th streets, bordered by Carpenter Avenue to the north and University Avenue to the south.

  • Several five-story buildings will be constructed with first-floor commercial space.
  • The project is intended to complement the Varsity Cinema's $3 million redevelopment.

What's next: If the Plan and Zoning Commission approves the project, the zoning plans will go before the City Council in coming weeks.

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