Feb 24, 2022 - Real Estate

West Des Moines considers unique house rental development

An aerial view of a Picket Fence development
An aerial view of a Phoenix development by Picket Fence Communities. The WDM property is expected to look similar. Photo courtesy of Picket Fenced

West Des Moines is considering approving a development of single-family rental homes that the city says would be unique in the Midwest.

Why it matters: The proposed 21-acre development near Jordan Creek Town Center could help fill a housing gap, especially as Des Moines' suburbs consider how to not only attract employees but encourage them to live there.

The big picture: The development model of building single-family homes as rentals, with amenities similar to apartments, has seen significant growth and investment on the coasts.

State of play: Picket Fence Communities, an Omaha-based developer, is proposing bringing that model to South 88th Street between Mills Civic Parkway and Coachlight Drive.

  • The developer wants to build 195 homes, each of which would be one- or two-bedroom units. Some of them will have garages.
  • The majority of the homes will be detached, but 84 will be located side-by-side, similar to townhouses.
  • Rent is expected to start around $1,100 a month.

Some of the amenities: Snow removal, lawn care, fenced backyards, community green space, pool and a fitness center.

What they're saying: The development's target demographic could be young people who aren't ready to buy, retirees who are downsizing and people who want a home, but can't afford the rising costs, said Deborah Kline, Picket Fence's chief of staff.

Of note: The city will have to change its ordinance regarding garages to allow for the development.

  • All new homes must include garages according to the city's code. That requirement was created so people didn't leave items out on their lawns, like mowers.

What's next: If rezoning and the code are approved, construction is expected to begin early summer and finish by spring 2023.

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