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Development planned along Eighth Street in West Des Moines


Developer Joe Cordaro plans to build two four-story mixed-use buildings in the 1200 block of  the east side of Eighth Street in West Des Moines. Each building would have about 40 market-rate apartments on the second through fourth floors. Retail such as restaurants and coffee shops would be on the ground level. Rendering by Vantage Architects
For developer Joe Cordaro, the most exciting element about his planned development on Eighth Street in West Des Moines is the possibility of connecting the Walnut Creek Trail with a proposed 10-foot-wide multi-purpose trail along a portion of the east side of Eighth Street.

The trail, which would be constructed as redevelopment occurs along Eighth Street between Center Street and Clegg Road, would either be extended north into Windsor Heights or jut eastward at Center and connect with a bridge that could be built over Walnut Creek.


West Des Moines and Windsor Heights will likely conduct a detailed feasibility and cost study of constructing the bridge, Sally Ortgies, West Des Moines’ parks and recreation director, told the Business Record.

“A trail connection of some sort is needed in this area by both communities to enhance access to the Walnut Creek Trail and to the existing and future businesses along Eighth Street,” Ortgies wrote in an email.

And the possibility of making the area pedestrian friendly excites Cordaro, who owns a parcel adjacent to Walnut Creek on which a trail that connected to the Walnut Creek Trail could be constructed.

“That’s the most exciting piece of what’s going on in the area – connecting the greenbelt with West Des Moines,” he said.

Much of the area north of Interstate Highway 235 at Eighth Street/73rd Street is a mix of retail and residential, Cordaro said. The DART hub and Colby Park are also north of the interstate. Much of the area south of I-235 is commercial and office, he said.

“The possibility of connecting these office and residential users with the retail space and park system is exciting,” said Cordaro (pictured). “It would bring more activity to the [Eighth Street] corridor on weekends and weeknight.

“It brings some life to the community.”

And if the multi-use trail is developed and connected to the Walnut Creek Trail, Cordaro’s proposed developments would also benefit.

Cordaro plans on constructing a 40,000-square-foot Class A office building at 1021 Office Park Road. Construction is scheduled to start in April.

The developer also owns five parcels along the north side of Office Park Road, from Eighth Street west to 1011 Office Park Road. Office buildings and a gas station are on the parcels. Cordaro also owns a parcel with an office building on the south side of the street at 950 Office Park Road.

In addition, Cordaro’s company Jarcor, LLC owns four parcels along the east side of Eighth Street including the building that houses Pad Thai Garden.

He plans on constructing two four-story buildings that would have commercial and retail on the ground floor and apartments on the other three floors. About 80 apartments, all market rate, are planned.

The proposed development would help bring life back into an area that once buzzed with activity, Cordaro said.

“Eighth Street used to be the place to be,” he said. “Now it’s a forgotten destination. That’s why we’re working on rebranding it.”

Connecting a multi-purpose trail along Eighth Street with the Walnut Creek Trail will help rejuvenate the area, he said. So will bringing new restaurants, coffee shops and other commercials businesses to the area, he said.

Clyde Evans, West Des Moines’ community and economic development director, said he’s hopeful Cordaro’s plans will induce other property areas in the area to update buildings.

“The area is important to West Des Moines,” Evans said. “It’s one of our first commercial areas right off the interstate. … Reinvestment there is important to us.”

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