Kum & Go plans to tear down an aged convenience store and adjacent 107-year-old apartment building in the Drake neighborhood and build a modern marketplace store with eight fueling pumps.

The proposed project at 3104 University Ave., which has received approval by the Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission, is a scaled-down version of what convenience store chain officials proposed 10 years ago. However, backlash from the community over the size of the proposed redevelopment, which included 10 fueling pumps, prompted officials to shelve the project.

About two years ago, however, the project was revisited.

In April 2018, Kum & Go bought Mirell Flats for $900,000. Last spring, it met with members of the Drake Neighborhood Association and others and presented revised plans for a new store.

Redevelopment of the Kum & Go site means the flats, a three-story brick Colonial Revival structure built in 1912, will be torn down. Jennifer Sayers, the association’s president, said that while members were disappointed Mirell Flats would be razed, the convenience store “has been sorely in need of updating.”

Association members appreciated that the proposed new store was smaller in scope than previously proposed and that an adjacent building that houses Lutheran Services in Iowa would not be torn down, Sayers said.

Kum & Go officials, in a report provided city officials, said they reviewed the historical significance of Mirell Flats and determined that little of the original building remained because of numerous remodels that occurred over the years.

In the report, company officials wrote that they explored moving the building to another site but could not find anyone interested in doing it. They wrote it would cost more than $750,000 to move the building in addition to the cost of buying land.

“Such a cost would make the entire project financially unviable,” the report said.

Officials, in the report, wrote that the parts of the building original to the structure would be preserved including the ornamentation around the front of the building, interior staircase and original transom.

The convenience store at 31st Street and University Avenue opened in 1977 under a different owner. Kum & Go bought the property, which has two fueling stations, in 1998.

The new convenience store will be located along 31st and University “so it will be pedestrian friendly and interact with the neighborhood,” said Ariel Rubin, Kum & Go spokesman. Entrances to the building will be located along the sidewalk and from the parking lot and fueling station area.

Construction is expected to be complete by late 2020. Cost estimates of the project were not available.

Sayers said the Kum & Go redevelopment coincides with other projects underway in the area. Among them: 

The redevelopment an area bounded by 24th and 25th streets and Forest and University avenues, announced in June. The redevelopment, valued at $63 million, includes the construction of apartment buildings, townhouses, commercial space and a parking garage. Drake University owns much of the land in the redevelopment area, which it is selling to Cedar Falls-based Merge Urban Development.

Construction of a $54 million hotel, apartment and retail development in the 2500 block of University Avenue immediately south of Drake. Nelson Construction and Development in spring 2017 announced plans for a five-story, 124-room hotel project that will include 11,000 square feet of retail space. The company began construction this spring. Next year, the company plans to begin work on an apartment building project.

Construction of the $8.1 million, 16,000-square-foot Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at the southwest corner of University Avenue and 28th Street. The facility is expected to open in fall 2020. 

The Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club that recently opened near the southwest corner of 25th Street and Forest Avenue.