Apr 28, 2023 - News

Broadway Motel could become 21+ beach house

Rendering of the proposed Broadway Beach House, 5100 Hubbell Ave., courtesy of GTG Architects via the city of DSM

The Broadway Motel near Altoona will be converted into the "Broadway Beach House'' for people 21 and older under plans approved last week by the Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission.

Why it matters: Metro developer Ryan Smithson contends his $2.6 million proposal is an improvement over the now-vacant 1950s motel, which he purchased last year and briefly operated before shutting it down.

Yes, but: Some neighbors fear they'll be inundated with social disruptions, they wrote in letters to the commission.

  • And the adjacent Operating Engineers Local 234 contends in a letter that the proposed parking of around 50 stalls is inadequate for the beach house's max occupancy of nearly 500 people.

Details: The rooms of the motel would be turned into cabanas, while a pool would be constructed in the front.

  • The property would also include fencing, trees and multiple faux palm trees with lights.
  • The cabanas would accommodate up to eight people and operate between 10am-9pm, Smithson told the commission.

Driving the news: The commission approved plans for a pool accessory building that would be used for equipment near the southwestern corner of the pool.

  • Neighbors complained the prefabricated building looks like a shed and is visually unappealing.
  • But Smithson said its placement was necessary to maintain clean pool operations and would look nicer than the example he submitted.
Photos of the Broadway Motel
An accessory building like this one on the right would be placed near the front of the Beach House, which is currently a vacant motel (left). Its design will blend with other elements of the attraction. Photos courtesy the city of DSM

The intrigue: Smithson told the commission that the project is partly in response to his experiences with children disrupting adults at the nearby Adventureland amusement park.

What's next: A building permit review is underway that will look at occupancy, Nick Tarpey, a city planning staff employee, told the commission.


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