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Des Moines City Council to vote Wednesday on buying downtown parking garage


The Des Moines City Council, during a special meeting on Wednesday, is expected to approve the purchase of a downtown parking garage at Fifth Avenue and Walnut Street. 

The structure has been at the center of two court proceedings: a foreclosure petition and a claim by the parking garage’s original developers that the city reneged on its development agreement with them.

In January, the city made an offer to buy the 751-space garage. Information provided to council members that was shared publicly did not include a specific purchase price. However, the sale price is not to exceed $47 million, according to public documents.

Purchasing the garage will “protect the city from having some unidentified owner or project obtain control over the garage and the separate development lots and move in a direction that might not be in the city or its taxpayers’ best interests,” according to material provided by the council. 

Bankers Trust Co., which provided a construction loan for the garage, filed a foreclosure petition in Polk County court last fall alleging that 5th and Walnut Parking Garage LLC and Justin Mandelbaum and Sean Mandelbaum, the project’s developers, were in default on the loan. 

The parking structure was part of a $200 million multipiece development planned by the Mandelbaums that was to include a 40-story tower with luxury apartments and hotel, and a five-story commercial building with a movie theater and restaurant.

The council’s meeting 4:30 p.m. Wednesday will be held virtually. For information about the meeting, click here.

Related articles:
Judge: City can buy downtown Des Moines parking garage
Developers of the Fifth seek $101 million in counterclaim against city
Bankers Trust files foreclosure petition on parking garage

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