Apr 7, 2023 - News

Rowhouses proposed on former mobile home site in Des Moines

A conceptual view on East Park Avenue looking towards Indianola Avenue, courtesy of Shyft Plan Design Build via NDC

Townhomes are being planned for the site of a former mobile home park off Indianola Avenue under a proposal going before the Des Moines City Council Monday.

Why it matters: The project is a result of city efforts launched about a decade ago to close the park due to poor maintenance and fire hazards.

Catch up fast: Oak Hill Mobile Home Park opened at the site in 1955.

  • In 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the city failed to prove that changes to the park such as "crudely constructed additions" prohibiting fire truck access were problematic enough to warrant revoking its permits.
  • It continued to operate until last year, when the Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC) purchased the nearly two-acre site.

Zoom in: NDC is a development group created in 1999 with the assistance of the city and Polk County.

  • The nonprofit first helped the park's 23 families find affordable alternative housing and moving assistance before the site was leveled.

Driving the news: NDC is now proposing a five-building, $7.1 million rowhouse project on the site under today's rezoning request.

  • The project would include 40 units, each leased at market rates.
  • Construction would begin in coming months and take about a year to complete, NDC director Abbey Gilroy tells Axios.

Of note: NDC is proposing multiple buildings rather than a larger development partly to work around the existing landscape.

  • Many of the site's trees would be retained, Gilroy says.

The intrigue: Developers won't know whether rumors about secret underground tunnels on the site are true until construction begins, Gilroy says.

A photo of a development site in Des Moines.
The former Oak Hill Mobile Home Park at 3140 Indianola Ave. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Des Moines stories

No stories could be found

Des Moinespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more