Valley West Mall's future could be housing
Valley West Mall's redevelopment could include affordable housing projects under preliminary discussions between prospective developers and West Des Moines, Mayor Russ Trimble tells Axios.
- Redevelopment could help alleviate the metro's housing needs and simultaneously rejuvenate business in the city's University Avenue corridor, Trimble says.
Catch up fast: U.S. Bank filed foreclosure proceedings on the mall last year after its owner, Watson Centers, was allegedly $3.5 million behind on its loan payments.
- The nearly 60-acre mall is still open but is now being managed by a receiver.
- There are currently no plans for it to be sold at an auction, according to a court filing in the foreclosure case.
State of play: The mall is the linchpin for the area's redevelopment — with housing likely among the most important components, per a study completed last year for WDM and Clive.
- The city is interested in assisting with gap financing for a "knock your socks off" proposal that could include an affordable housing component, Trimble says.
Of note: Projects are likely years out as the mall's financial problems continue to be resolved.
- Trimble says he'd like to see redevelopment begin before the end of his first term as mayor in 2025.
The big picture: Iowa needs to build nearly 11K homes for low-income families by 2030, according to a recent projection from the Iowa Finance Authority.
- Vacant or underused retail centers can be a solution, Toby O'Berry, the director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund, told members of the Metro Advisory Council last week.
- That's because they often have unused land like parking lots that are conducive to redeveloped and mixed retail/housing uses, he said.
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