Real Estate

Des Moines neighbors oppose Ruby Rose Ridge development project

A photo of empty lots in Des Moines.
The Ruby Rose Ridge development near East 50th Court and Northeast 23rd Avenue in Des Moines. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Plans for a 65-unit housing development on Des Moines' far northeast side will go before the City Council Monday.

Why it matters: It would create more homes in an undeveloped area near Altoona and Pleasant Hill, but some nearby residents oppose the project.

One hot Des Moines lot: A Foster Drive find

A photo of an empty lot in Des Moines.
Photo courtesy of Ted Thoms/Lost Planet Development

🧞 ️Unleash your inner design genie and let your imagination run wild with this vacant lot in Des Moines' Linden Heights neighborhood.

  • It's nested in a wooded area overlooking Water Works Park.
690 Foster Dr., Des Moines — $385,000

Specs: Just over ½ acre, adjacent to the Bill Riley Trail, six-year tax abatement.

Flashback: Until a few months ago, the lot spanned nearly 1.5 acres and had a home on the property.

  • Owner Ted Thoms told us the house needed some work, plus his family wanted to build their own place.
  • They ended up dividing the area, and put the other lot up for sale.

Cool bonus: Thoms and his company, Lost Planet Development, shared drawings of some homes that may work on the property.

  • There's room for a 7,000-square-foot home, he said.

Des Moines metro's $15K stormwater warning

Illustration of pattern of houses partially submerged under water
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New homebuyers are paying as much as $15,000 more on property lots due to regulations linked with a new regional stormwater plan, the Home Builders Association of Des Moines (HBA) warns.

  • Des Moines and West Des Moines are expected to consider adopting the plan in coming months.

Why it matters: The plan aims to address regional flooding by calling for stricter design standards to capture and slowly release rain. That typically means more land is needed.

  • Yes, but: The HBA says a financial analysis was never conducted and costs of implementing the plan can be excessive.
Jason Clayworth
Oct 7, 2021 - News

Iowa faces rent assistance clawback

Illustration of bear claw about to pull a lever
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Iowa could lose millions of dollars in federal emergency rent assistance due to slow distribution of a $195 million grant, federal officials warned the state this week.

  • The state has disbursed less than 10% ($18.4 million), as of Tuesday.
  • Those that haven't obligated 65% of their funds have until Nov. 15 to submit an improvement plan — which Iowa plans to do, Ashley Jared, a spokesperson for the Iowa Finance Authority, told us.

Why it matters: Nearly 10,000 Iowans face the likelihood of eviction in the next two months, according to the most recent household pulse survey from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Jason Clayworth
Oct 6, 2021 - News

Fourmile Creek area homeowners plead for their properties

Catherine Manhart raises her fist in the air at Monday's Des Moines City Council meeting.
Homeowner Catherine Manhart pleads at Monday’s Des Moines City Council meeting. Video screenshot from the meeting

Multiple homeowners pleaded unsuccessfully with the Des Moines City Council Monday night to spare them from an eminent domain plan.

  • They're among 27 property owners located in a floodplain along Fourmile Creek that has not participated in previous flood buyouts.

Why it matters: There might be a whole lot of us in their shoes in coming years.

  • Extreme weather events are virtually assured for the next three decades due to climate change, Axios' Andrew Freedman and Kia Kokalitcheva write.

Polk County property tax protesters score record win

Illustration of a stack of money being thrown at a basketball hoop
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Property values worth more than $300 million were wiped off Polk County's tax rolls after owners challenged this year's assessments, according to a recent county assessor's report.

Why it matters: The records show it's the biggest rollback in the county's history. Residents and business owners will now pay less in annual property taxes, some by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • But it also means less revenue for local governments to pay for things like schools, streets and sewers.

Building the future of Iowa's affordable housing with a 3D printer

A 3D home under construction in Richmond, Virginia.
A 3D-printed home under construction in Richmond, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Zach Mannheimer

Homes built with a 3D printer could alleviate Iowa's affordable housing gaps and help rejuvenate rural areas, Zach Mannheimer of 3D housing company Alquist told Axios.

Driving the news: Mannheimer's company is planning to build a 3D-printed home in Stanton, Iowa, next year.

Why it matters: Central Iowa is facing a shortage of tens of thousands of new housing units over the next few decades, according to a DSM study from 2018.

  • A lack of affordable digs jeopardizes employment growth, the study found.
Jason Clayworth
Sep 8, 2021 - News

Des Moines considers new approach to redevelopment

Illustration of a dollar sign made out of girders.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Growing frustration with slum and blight along some of Des Moines' busiest corridors has city leaders considering a new approach to redevelopment.

  • Des Moines staff members are developing a plan to potentially establish new districts for popular community improvement programs, specifically tax increment financing (TIF), even before developers ask for city assistance.

Why it matters: It could prompt much-needed improvements throughout the city. But decades of future property tax growth could be tied up in paying for it.

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