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Stetson move clears way for Riverpoint redevelopment work


Another step toward redevelopment of the Riverpoint West area will begin soon as workers demolish the former headquarters of Stetson Building Products Inc. at 510 S.W. Ninth St.

Stetson Building Products, which had been searching for a new headquarters site for about the past three years, recently moved to a renovated warehouse building at 2205 Bell Ave.

Hubbell Realty Co. purchased the building on Southwest Ninth from the company’s founder, Roger Stetson, about six years ago, with a long-term plan to demolish the structure and construct new office buildings. Stetson had occupied the 46,000-square-foot building since 1963.

Hubbell plans to build three or four single-story flex-space office buildings totaling about 145,000 square feet on the 12 acres it owns between Southwest 11th and Southwest Ninth streets, extending north from Dart Way to Murphy Street.

Rick Tollakson, Hubbell Realty’s president and CEO, said development of the first of those buildings won’t take place until needed sanitary sewer work is completed by the city of Des Moines, probably sometime in 2011 or 2012. However, he said, Hubbell Realty is eager to get them built and repay funds it borrowed from the city for environmental cleanup of the land. The city loan will be repaid from tax increment finance revenues once the buildings are leased.

Meanwhile, Sherman and Associates Inc., the master developer for an adjacent planned 120-acre mixed-used development, is negotiating to build two hotels just north of the former Stetson site.

Jackie Nickolaus, a spokeswoman for Sherman and Associates, said her company is currently negotiating a purchase agreement with a developer for the hotels, each of which would have between 100 and 120 rooms.

Sherman and Associates anticipates a closing on the land sale for the hotels by early spring 2010, Nickolaus said.

The hotels would be a component of Gray’s Lake Office Park, a 50-acre commercial development that will extend Southwest Ninth and West Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. A 70-acre residential development, Gray’s Landing, is also planned.

Heavy equipment is already busy nearby to build connector streets for the development. Work began last month on a $2.78 million road construction project to extend Southwest 11th Street from Tuttle Street to Dart Way, and Murphy Street from Southwest Ninth Street to Southwest 11th Street. The city of Des Moines is sharing the cost of that project with Sherman and Associates.

Demolition of the former Stetson warehouse, which is more than 100 years old, is expected to begin in mid-October and take about 60 days.

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