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Nonprofit would pay a buck a year for 99 years to redevelop Grubb Y land


A nonprofit group that has operated behind the scenes for more than a year as it pieces together a redevelopment plan for 7 acres of city-owned land near the Grubb YMCA will discuss elements of its proposal today before the Des Moines City Council.

Pillars of Promise, made up of representatives Principal Financial Group Inc., Lutheran Church of Hope and other top-of-the-pack private and nonprivate enterprises in Greater Des Moines, has met in private with city staff and representatives of neighborhood groups, but has refused to discuss its plan publicly.

The organization has demonstrated enough clout that multifamily housing that had been proposed by other developers for a 2-acre segment of the city property, located between Ninth and 11th streets on the east and west and between Jefferson and College avenues on the north and south, have been scuttled, though a smaller portion of that parcel will be developed for another nonprofit, Children and Family Urban Movement.

A Pillars representative is expected to tell the City Council today that it would like to lease the 7 acres at $1 per year for 99 years as part of plan to build a new YMCA, recreational fields, “and a consortium of community service organizations housed with a common facility,” according to the staff report.

The site had been part of Des Moines College and was later the campus of Dowling High School until 1970. The city of Des Moines leases the Grubb YMCA to the YMCA of Greater Des Moines.

“The city must consider all contingencies on this site in the event Pillars is not successful in its
fundraising efforts and designs for a new facility. If Pillars cannot raise sufficient funds for the Y, the city will need to make necessary repairs and improvements to the existing Grubb YMCA building,” according to the report.

Also today, the City Council will set a public hearing for the transfer of slightly more than 1 acre of land on the site to Christensen Development, a move that would clear the path for development of a headquarters and tutorial center for Children and Family Urban Movement. Read more about that project. (Insider)

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