Jul 28, 2022 - News

Des Moines' federal courthouse is on the market

A photo of Des Moines' federal courthouse.
The federal courthouse at 123 E. Walnut St. in Des Moines will be vacated in coming weeks. Photo courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration

Federal officials want to transfer or sell the existing federal courthouse at 123 E Walnut St. in downtown Des Moines, according to a notice sent last week to Polk County officials.

Why it matters: It's the next step in a nearly $141 million federal project to build a new courthouse, which is expected to open next year.

Catch up fast: The new courthouse is at 101 Locust St. — the plot of land that hosted the former YMCA building — which was demolished in 2015.

  • That area was envisioned for a marquee riverfront development with potential housing and entertainment venues.
  • But city leaders unsuccessfully tried to persuade the federal government to build the courthouse in another spot.

State of play: The General Services Administration (GSA) notified the Polk County government last week saying the current courthouse is now listed as surplus property.

  • That launches a process to sell or transfer the property.
  • The GSA is asking other governments or nonprofit groups with interest in the Walnut Street property to express a desire in its redevelopment.
A rendering of Des Moines' new federal courthouse.
The new federal courthouse at 101 Locust St. in Des Moines will open in coming weeks. Rendering courtesy of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects via the U.S. General Services Administration
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