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Green & Main project gets Power Fund grant


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About two and a half years after Chaden Halfhill purchased the former grocery market at 800 19th St. in Sherman Hill, the effort to transform it into a model of sustainable design is still under way.

At its May 13 meeting, the Iowa Power Fund board approved the contract terms for a $225,000 grant. Halfhill said the board formally agreed to support the project in February, but he had to meet several obligations first, including securing tenants and showing how it would meet educational and outreach goals after the renovation is completed.

“The funding support has very little to do with the building itself,” Halfhill said. “Everything has to do with the outreach. It’s how we share the successes and the research and the knowledge from the building within the state of Iowa.”

Halfhill, who is developing the building under Indigo Dawn LLC, has dubbed the project Green & Main. The goal is to renovate the building to achieve a 75 percent energy-efficiency improvement over Iowa energy code standards and obtain a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The measured results of the project will serve as a foundation to create a best practices model that can be applied to other buildings, and the building itself will be a center for education about sustainable design.

The total cost to design, construct and operate the building is estimated at an additional $1.99 million beyond the Power Fund grant. According to a council communications report for the Des Moines City Council’s Feb. 9 meeting, Halfhill has commitments for about 85 percent of that, with the city approving $420,000 in loans. Halfhill also has assembled a long list of supporters and sponsors, which have contributed or pledged about $500,000 in goods and services toward renovation.

Securing financing has been challenging, Halfhill said, especially because the concept is new, so there’s no comparison for valuing it. “It’s really thinking outside the box and how do you bring something like this into our market,” he said.

Once the permits and funding are obtained, Halfhill hopes to begin construction this summer.

For more information, go to www.greenandmain.org.

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