Des Moines skyscraper plan to make a comeback
A group of investors is trying to resurrect a 33-story downtown Des Moines residential tower proposal with tentative plans that could launch construction as early as May.
- St. Joseph's Group, a DSM-based development team, has secured around $100 million in bonds, Joe Teeling, the team's president, told Axios this week.
Why it matters: 515 Walnut is an important link in downtown redevelopment that could transform the city's skyline.
- The proposal led to the 2018 closure and still pending demolition of Des Moines' Kaleidoscope at the Hub — a once-bustling restaurant and retail center near 5th and Walnut streets.
Catch up fast: The project began in 2016 as a smaller plan on the nearby and former Younkers site.
- A series of financial and development decisions by Des Moines-based Blackbird Investments transitioned the project to its current site and iteration.
State of play: Blackbird is transitioning the project to St. Joseph's Group, said Teeling, who is also president of Blackbird Investments, the owner of the property.
- A nonprofit affordable housing group is being formed that would ultimately own and manage the property.
Driving the news: Developers would like Des Moines, Polk County and state government officials to help them secure portions of another $35 million for the project — possibly using some federal pandemic relief funds allocated for housing.
- Tentative agreements could go before the city council as early as next month, Teeling said.
Reality check: Teeling's timeline for council action might be a bit optimistic.
- The city is discussing preliminary terms with the group but it is premature to commit to a timeline, deputy city manager Matt Anderson told Axios Wednesday.
Of note: A previous development plan will generally be followed although amenities like a pool on the top floor are still under review, Teeling said.
- The previous plan included 336 mixed-income units and 25,000 square feet of retail or commercial space.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to change the name of the project to 515 Walnut from The Fifth. Two lines regarding the 515's connection with a parking garage project have also been removed.
More Des Moines stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.