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2 affordable housing projects aimed at seniors planned in WDM


Construction of a multifamily affordable housing project aimed at people 55 and older is scheduled to begin in the summer at 8701 Ashworth Road in West Des Moines. CT Development plans a similar project at 2501 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines. The two buildings will look similar, developer Tim Mauro said. Architectural rendering by Studio Melee Architects


Two multifamily housing projects are planned for West Des Moines that would provide affordable housing to people 55 and older.

Tim Mauro, a developer from Des Moines, through CT Development, is proposing to build a 44-unit apartment building at 2501 Westown Parkway and a 34-unit building at 8701 Ashworth Road. Both buildings will be three stories and be similar in appearance.

“Generally, Iowa does not have enough housing for seniors that is affordable,” said Mauro, who has seven other multifamily affordable housing projects in the Des Moines area targeted at older adults. “Filling these [units] has never been a problem.”

Five of the 44 units planned at the Westown Parkway project, called Westown Crossing Senior Apartments, will be rented at market rates. At the Ashworth Road project, called Grace Creek Senior Apartments, four of the 34 units will be rented at market rates.

The remainder of the units at both projects will be rented to people earning up to 60% of the area’s median annual income, or $43,860 for a two-person household. (Income limits vary by household size.)

A regional housing study conducted more than three years ago showed that by 2038 the Des Moines area would need 57,000 new housing units. About 40% of the new housing, or 23,500 units, need to be rental units, with a majority offering monthly rental rates below $1,250, which is considered affordable, the study said.

Construction of the two apartment buildings is expected to begin by midsummer and be completed by summer 2023, Mauro said.

Costs for both projects have escalated, Mauro said. A year ago, Westown Crossing’s construction budget was estimated at about $6 million. Since then, the costs have increased about $1 million, he said.

“We have to go back and sharpen the pencil a little bit and maybe take some things out,” he said. “But we can’t take away too much from the building because Iowa Finance Authority has very stringent and well-laid-out requirements that the building has to have.”

The construction budget for Westown Crossing is now $7 million; the construction budget for Grace Creek is $5.9 million.

Lumber prices have been the most difficult to gauge, Mauro said. “It’s a moving target. If you don’t lock it in [one week], it changes the next week.”

Lumber prices have been volatile since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. While prices fell during the fall, they are now rising again for numerous reasons including demand, supply disruptions caused by storms in Canada, and increased tariffs.

“This isn’t just affecting my projects,” Mauro said. “Other developers are scrambling around as well.”

Related article: Waukee buys land for affordable housing development


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