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Nelson project in Market District takes two steps forward


The $27 million transformation of a former industrial site in Des Moines has moved forward with preliminary approval of a development agreement and the design of a 162-unit apartment building that will occupy much of the site.

Nelson Construction & Development will redevelop the block between Southeast Sixth and Seventh streets, a rehabbed East Market Street to the south and rail lines to the north as Rowat Lofts, where the company also plans to repurpose cut stone and a derrick used by Rowat Cut Stone & Marble Co.

The project is among several that will reshape a stretch of Southeast Sixth and Seventh from industrial properties to apartments, offices and retail in the Market District of the city’s East Village.

On Monday, the Des Moines City Council gave preliminary approval to a development agreement that calls for 15 years of tax increment financing rebates on a sliding scale. The project also will qualify for a 10-year property tax abatement. In previous council action, the value of the TIF was placed at $4.3 million.

The city’s Urban Design Review Board approved preliminary designs today.

Rowat Lofts is planned as a four-story structure that will include a courtyard fronting a pedestrian plaza on the former East Market Street alignment that is planned as part of a development called District at 6th located immediately south of the Nelson project.

Rowat Lofts will include 17 apartments for people who earn up to 80 percent of the area median income. In December, the City Council passed a resolution supporting Nelson’s application for $1 million in Iowa workforce housing tax credits for the project.

In addition to apartments, the fourth floor will include amenity space that consists of a 
social commons with outdoor terrace space. 

BNIM is the architect of record on the project, with site design and landscape architecture provided by Genus Landscape Architects.

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