The big downtown convention hotel that is slated to be built soon and connected to the Iowa Events Center was approved for an additional $10-million guarantee by the Des Moines City Council last week. This is on top of the $14.2 million already committed by the city in the form of tax increment financing (TIF). The $101-million hotel project will include approximately 330 hotel rooms.
Former Des Moines Register building update
The conversion of the Des Moines Register building into residential dwelling units is underway, and it’s thought the new downtown pads will become available by the end of the year. A permit for $22 million was pulled in September on the project. TWG Construction of Indianapolis is the developer.
Drake University held a private groundbreaking ceremony last week to celebrate construction on a $15-million facility to house Drake’s School of Education, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University. The new building is part of a $55 million STEM@DRAKE initiative that will add two new buildings to Drake’s campus and substantially renovate existing laboratory and classroom space in addition to creating six new academic programs.
Businessolver.com gets a grant
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded West Des Moines’ Businessolver.com $100,000 in direct financial assistance, as well as tax benefits for a proposed project that includes a renovation of their building to allow for future growth. Businessolver.com began operations in 1998 and has grown into a tech administrator for employers by way of developing software-as-a-service configurable platform. This investment is expected to create 40 jobs at a qualifying hourly wage of $26.72.
$17 million for DuPont Pioneer
DuPont Pioneer, despite locating its new headquarters outside the state of Iowa, was approved for $17 million in incentives in order to keep roughly 2,600 jobs housed at DuPont Pioneer in Johnston. Dow and DuPont are planning a $130 billion merger and plan to locate the new headquarters in Delaware.
No new residential building permits were issued in the city of Des Moines in January of 2016. January is traditionally a slow month for permits to be issued, but, by contrast, West Des Moines issued nine, Ankeny issued 17 and Waukee issued 21 in the same month. A year ago in January of 2015, West Des Moines issued 12, Ankeny issued 18, and Waukee had 24.
China One fire alarm
China One International Buffet at 2301 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines was recently evacuated when a kitchen fire broke out. Firefighters were called, and the blaze was put out. No injuries were reported.
Black Medicine Comics is open for business. The new comic book store retailer and distributer is located at 48th and University in Des Moines.
Get on the bus
DART is providing its initial update to its long-range plan — DART Forward 2035 — to increase ridership and meet Des Moines’ mobility needs. The bus provider has been adding routes and making them run more frequently for five years or so, but now company officials are looking at additional ways to improve service and want citizen input. Go to www.ridedart.com and fill out a survey. Public meetings will also be held the week of Feb. 29 to March 2.
Food court is reopening
The food court that closed two years ago in the downtown Partnership Building as a result of water and smoke damage from the Younkers building fire is set to open this April. Local ownership will be the hallmark of the seven eateries that will open their doors. CV