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NOTEBOOK: About the cover for this year’s Annual Real Estate Magazine

Business Record photographer Duane Tinkey’s cover photo for this year’s Annual Real Estate Magazine has some history behind it, and why not, given that it is a view of the entrance to the Bridge District, a mixture of apartments and for-sale townhomes developed by Hubbell Realty Co., a firm that traces its roots in real estate to 1856.

We here at the Business Record like the view, sweeping to the skyline from the steel frame of a 1920s Boone County bridge. Just a few years ago, the view wasn’t quite so dramatic. Hubbell bought the roughly 16 acres that make up the Bridge District from Principal Financial Group, which owned buildings that housed warehouses and small business.

The Bridge District is on the east bank of the Des Moines River, almost at the foot of the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge on the Principal Riverwalk. Hubbell wanted a special piece of artwork to adorn a park at the entrance to the Bridge District, and landscape architect and urban designer Dennis Reynolds found it in the form of a pony truss bridge that was going to be torn down in northeast Boone County.

The bridge was removed and reassembled in the Bridge District. Business Record columnist Dave Elbert interviewed Reynolds about the project.

“Reynolds’ idea was to create that unique piece of art, which he calls ‘Bridges,’ from a much older bridge and to tweak its design to create a contrast to the Riverwalk’s ultra-modern Women of Achievement Bridge. The perfect foil, he decided, would be an early 20th-century Iowa pony truss bridge. Pony truss bridges are small structures without cross bracing on the top that were used throughout rural Iowa in the early 1900s to help bring farm produce to market. Together with the high-tech, high-arched bridge, the old bridge will help span the history of the Des Moines River as a centerpiece of the city for more than 150 years.”

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