Makeover, sale of Court Avenue property planned
The former owners of Judge Roy Bean’s at 210 Court Ave. in Des Moines hope to remodel or sell the downtown property that housed their restaurant for 26 years.
The nearly 6,000-square-foot space has been vacant since April 2008, when Jeff and Pamela Baker closed the dining establishment.
“The folks that own the building have been trying to put together a rehabilitation project,” said Rita Conner, an economic development coordinator with the city of Des Moines.
Jeff Baker said in an e-mail that he had originally partnered with Mark Rogers, who owns Legends American Grill at 216 Court Ave. to the west, and the owners of Ames-based Quebec Construction LLC to renovate the 130-year-old building.
In 2007, Quebec completed the renovation of Court Center, a 46,000-square-foot space that houses Legends and a number of downtown nightclubs.
“We were partnered with Mark Rogers and the three people who own Quebec Construction,” Baker said. “The plan was to rebuild the whole building and, using federal and state tax credits, rent the building out and have a nice addition to Court Avenue.”
That was in the fall of 2008, as the recession took hold and the credit markets faltered.
“Bank Iowa was very excited about the deal and quickly gave us money to demolish for reconstruction,” Baker said. “Shortly thereafter, Bank Iowa had a change of heart and decided not to fund the project. We have been looking to sell the building or secure financing to remodel ever since.”
Baker said he is working with Indianola-based Downing Construction Inc. to help get the project off the ground. He said the pursuit of state and federal historic tax credits is still an option.
“Our hope is that they can pull their resources together to get the interior renovated,” as well as to improve the exterior, Connor said. “We are just encouraged that they are still interested in doing the project, especially in the economic climate that we are in.”
Baker acquired the property in 1983. It has an assessed value of $227,000, according to the Polk County assessor’s website.