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Willow on Grand event center opens after COVID-related delays


Willow on Grand, an event venue at 6011 Grand Ave.in Des Moines, opened recently. A garden center and a two-story residence that had been converted to other uses previously had been located on the property. Photo by Emily Kestel

Taylor Boesen’s plan when she started her event planning business in 2013 was to open an event venue where wedding receptions, bridal showers, and birthday and graduation parties could be held.

Her plan came to fruition with the recent opening of Willow on Grand, located at 6011 Grand Ave. in Des Moines.

“It’s always been our dream to own our own space and to make it light and airy with lots of windows,” said Boesen, who in 2013 began White Willow Events. “I think it will be very easy for people to curate [the new event center] into a space of their own.”

The event center is located on property that previously had been home to a garden center and a two-story residence.

The event center and its companion cottage were designed by ID8 Architects PLC in Des Moines. The project’s general contractor was Kimberley Construction, located in Ankeny.

The outside and inside of both structures are white, a deliberate color choice, Boesen said.

“A lot of our photography friends like white walls because they photograph well,” she said. “You can get a lot of good contrasts. Brides like white because it goes with every other color scheme.”

An outdoor courtyard lit with small light strands will be located between the event center and cottage. When the weather turns warmer, artificial turf will be installed. The courtyard will include outdoor furniture and a portable bar.

Every Saturday is booked for a wedding reception or other event through November, Boesen said. Other events are also beginning to fill Willow on Grand’s calendar, she said.

“It’s really a relief to get to this point,” said Boesen, whose plans for the event center were slowed by the pandemic. “We had some challenges but now here we are – we’re opening.”

NOTE: This is one of the articles and photo packages that will appear in the 2022 Annual Real Estate Magazine. The publication will be distributed at the April 20 Commercial Real Estate Forum and included in the April 22 edition of the Business Record.

The women’s restroom at Willow on Grand includes a white neon-lit sign and several mirrors. Photo by Emily Kestel

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