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Church preservation, 8-story residential building proposed on Grand Avenue


The Des Moines City Council will see a resolution on Monday outlining a developer’s proposed preservation of a vacant church property and construction of a new eight-story residential building on Grand Avenue. 

Developer Harry Bookey, operating as BH 3750 Grand LLC, is proposing an estimated $34.7 million project to preserve the vacant First Church of Christ Scientist property located at 3750 Grand Ave. (click to see the street view) and build the eight-story building. The project would have 42 condos and 36 indoor parking stalls. 

The Office of Economic Development has negotiated preliminary terms of an urban renewal development agreement, according to the resolution. The project would bring the property onto city tax rolls. Tax increment financing over 10 years – capped at $4.3 million, about 12% of project costs – would be used to assist the developer. It’s estimated the project would bring in $26.6 million in tax revenue over 30 years. 

The buildings on the property were built in the 1930s and 1940s. The church last held a service in 2010 and has been vacant since. Some of the original facade will be preserved in the project, including the stain glass windows. The condos will be owner-occupied. The project proposes to preserve approximately 10,036 square feet of the existing church buildings and would demolish the sanctuary building, which is approximately 10,831 square feet, according to the resolution. 

The resolution is a preliminary agreement and would have to be approved by city boards and council.

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