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Construction starts on wide range of projects in Des Moines area

Projects include warehouse, apartments, school and new retail center


Construction has begun on a 21,800-square-foot office/warehouse in an area zoned for light industrial in Pleasant Hill, a review of the city’s commercial building permits shows.

The permit, valued at $3.8 million, was among 52 commercial building permits issued in the Des Moines area in July. The value of the commercial permits issued by the 13 Des Moines-area communities and Polk County totaled more than $125.1 million; in the first seven months of 2021, commercial permits valued at more than $1.44 billion have been issued by the communities and county.

In Pleasant Hill, U.S. Properties LLC is building a warehouse (pictured above) on nearly 5 acres it owns at 5780 Metro East Drive, an industrial area west of U.S. Highway 65. The warehouse is similar to one that U.S. Properties, located in Cedar Rapids, built in 2017 on adjacent property.

More than 1 acre north of the building will be reserved for storage of shipping containers, according to a city staff report.

Just one parcel is left to develop in the industrial area located along Metro East Drive, “which is a part of the [reason] why the City Council invested in the Certified Site area to open up additional industrial space in our community,” wrote Madeline Sturms, Pleasant Hill’s community development director, in an email.

The city has more than 200 developable acres in its commerce park located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 65 and Iowa Highway 163. The site is among 26 that have been certified by Iowa Economic Development as ready for development.

Also in July, Columbus, Ohio-based Woda Cooper Cos. took out permits in Johnston and Indianola to construct affordably priced apartment buildings. The company, founded in 1990, has more than 350 properties in 16 states and a development portfolio of $1.5 billion, according to its website.

The company is building a 50-unit, age and income restricted apartment project at 5409 N.W. Johnston Drive in Johnston. The exterior of the three-story building will include brick, fiber cement smooth siding and vinyl windows. The building permit is valued at $6.6 million.

A similar project is planned at 1603 N. Ninth St. in Indianola, where a building permit valued at $5.5 million was issued.

Also included in July’s commercial building permit reports were:

• A $46 million permit for a new eighth- and ninth-grade school located at 1455 N.W. Douglas Parkway in Waukee. Also, a $5 million permit  was issued for a 2,220-square-foot concession stand that will be built as part of the school’s athletic complex that will include football, baseball and softball fields and two multiuse fields. The new facilities, located on 76 acres, are northwest of Waukee’s new high school that opens this month. The new eighth- and ninth-grade building, whose exterior will include brick, architectural metal paneling and aluminum windows and curtain walls, will have 36 classrooms, according to a report by city staff.

• A $3.1 million permit for a 13,265-square-foot retail strip center (pictured below) at 210 Jordan Creek Parkway in West Des Moines. The project’s owner and developer, Jeff Stanbrough, wrote in an email that three tenants for the center are confirmed and letters of intent are pending for four other tenants.

• A $1.3 million permit for a 4,242-square-foot building at 301 Fifth St. in West Des Moines. The building will be occupied by First National Bank. A bank building that originally was on the site has been demolished.

• A $2.8 million permit to update EveryStep’s Kavanagh House hospice facility at 900 56th St. in Des Moines. Renovations include installation of a new HVAC system and updated lighting and finishes in patient rooms. The kitchen and nurse’s station are being updated and an outside deck expanded.

• Permits for the construction of three 440-unit apartment buildings at the Emory, an apartment complex under construction at 1230, 1240 and 1330 34th Ave. S.W. in Altoona. The value of the permits ranged from $5.5 million $5.6 million.

More information: Click here to find out what commercial building permits were issued in the Des Moines area in January through July. View a spreadsheet that includes the commercial building permit information.


Construction of a retail strip shopping center has started at 210 Jordan Creek Parkway in West Des Moines. Rendering special to the Business Record

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