Mar 13, 2024 - News

Des Moines loses chance to buy Wallace Elementary site

A photo of Wallace Elementary.

The former Wallace Elementary building is now demolished. Photo: Courtesy of the Polk County Assessor

A Christian college that owns Des Moines' former Wallace Elementary site recently paid a $242,000 judgment against the property.

Why it matters: The payoff blocked the city government's plan to purchase the property at a sheriff's sale and potentially redevelop the 3.3-acre site.

Catch up fast: Wallace closed about 17 years ago following the construction of the nearby Carver Elementary.

  • California-based Olivet University purchased the former school in 2012 for $100,000 to convert it into a church and seminary but the plan never materialized.
  • The building was on DSM's public nuisance list for years before it was demolished about six years ago.

Driving the news: A sheriff's sale for the land was initially scheduled in January, but it was delayed because of bad weather.

  • Olivet recently paid the judgment, which was largely made up of demolition fees owed to the city.
  • The sale was canceled last week.

The intrigue: The property at 1401 E. 12th St., is assessed at $113,000, according to the Polk County Assessor.

  • Olivet did not respond to Axios' inquiries about its plans for the land.
  • The university is currently under federal investigation for alleged money laundering and labor trafficking, Newsweek reports.
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