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Downtown Des Moines’ newest hotel scheduled to open Nov. 11


The 12-story building at 2016 Sixth Ave. as it looked in 2009. The structure has undergone a $40 million renovation and will reopen on Nov. 11 as the Surety Hotel. Photo courtesy Polk County assessor

A downtown Des Moines building, once the tallest structure in the city’s central business district, will reopen on Nov. 11 as a 137-room boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar.

The building at 206 Sixth Ave. has undergone a $40 million renovation that includes preserving historic features like its 12-story main staircase and an ornate mail chute, according to a news release.

The Surety Hotel is owned by the Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group, which purchased the building in 2017. The hotel group is known for transforming well-worn buildings into upscale hotels with signature restaurants and bars.

The structure, originally known as the Hippee Building, was constructed in 1913 and at the time was Des Moines’s tallest building. For many years, the building housed finance-related businesses, including the Southern Surety Co., which occupied the structure for more than 20 years. The building was purchased in 1947 by Des Moines Building-Savings and Loan, which, after a rebranding in the 1980s, called the property the Midland Building.

The renovation of the building took more than two years to complete. Records show the project received $4.67 million in historic preservation tax credits from the state of Iowa, about $4 million from Des Moines in the form of tax increment finance grants, and $400,000 in tax credits from Iowa’s Redevelopment Tax Credit program for grayfield sites.

The property includes the Mulberry Street Tavern, which according to a news release combines British pub culture in a Midwestern setting. The dining area features a hand-fired copper metal cookline visible from the Mulberry Street sidewalk. Courtyard seating will open in 2021.

Related article: New hotel opens at 11 a.m. on 11/11

The Elbert Files: The Hippee Building


An architectural rendering of the lobby of the Surety Hotel, which opens on Nov. 11. Rendering by DLR Group

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