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Former AIB classroom building proposed for office uses

The owner of a former AIB College of Business classroom building plans to renovate the structure so it can be used for commercial office space, according to information provided to the Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission.

Sitwell LLC, whose registered agent is Nick Mauro, bought the two-story, white building in February from Tina Smothers and Jason Grove. The business partners bought the former college campus in 2019 from the University of Iowa.

Sitwell paid $291,000 for the property, located at 2688 S.W. 23rd St., which includes about three-fourths of an acre and a 10,816-square-foot concrete block building constructed in 1982. The property is valued at $291,000, according to the Polk County assessor.

The Plan and Zoning Commission at its Thursday meeting is being asked to approve a final Planned Unit Development plan that would allow a change of use for the structure. The city staff has recommended approval of the building’s change of use.

Smothers and Grove have sold several parts of the campus, including the former administration building, 3 acres of undeveloped ground at 2710 Fleur Drive, and the former activities center. The former AIB student residences have been renovated and are being leased as apartments.

Also Thursday, the commission will determine whether to:

• Allow the rezoning of land at 2200 Easton Blvd. to allow an existing vacant commercial building to be reused for a vehicle maintenance/repair shop and used car lot. City staff has recommended that the request by the applicant, Angel Groff, be denied. The city’s land use plan calls for low-density residential or a development with both commercial and residential uses.

• Approve the final site plan for an eight-story condominium project at 3750 Grand Ave. The site was once the home of the First Church of Christ, Scientist. The sanctuary and bell tower have been razed. The remaining portion of the church will be converted into a large club room, a cafe lounge for residents, a fitness center and suites for overnight visitors.

• Allow additions to Wesley Acres, a residential retirement campus located at 3520 Grand Ave. The additions would include a swimming pool for residents, an auditorium and additional parking. Also proposed is construction of a terrace and pond on a portion of the site and renovation of a central courtyard. A child care facility that had operated on the campus would be removed. The facility’s owners also want to expand the areas where alcoholic beverages could be served. The city’s staff is recommending approval of the request to amend the property’s conceptual plan to allow the additions to be constructed.

The Plan and Zoning Commission meets at 6 p.m. Thursday in a virtual meeting. Information on how to listen to the meeting is available by clicking here.


Wesley Acres, a retirement center in Des Moines, plans to add an auditorium and swimming pool to its campus at 3520 Grand Ave. Architectural rendering by Pope Architects

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