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Purchase of Des Moines Social Club in doubt after noise complaints

The current offer is $2.3 million for the property that's been abandoned since 2019.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The latest offer to buy the Des Moines Social Club has hit a bit of a snag; prospective buyers want to get noise permits for the event venue, but some neighborhood residents are concerned.

The Social Club has been mostly abandoned since it closed in 2019. Multiple buyers have expressed interest in acquiring the property. The latest offer of $2.3 million is from Des Moines businessmen Todd Milang, Tyler Dingel and Paul Rottenberg. The trio already has some interest in the historic firehouse coming from a poetic source.

"We were able to strike a deal with the Des Moines firefighters union, and we feel this is an incredible situation, sort of a full circle scenario for the property," Milang said.

The Social Club would become the new union hall for Des Moines firefighters, but beyond that, the space would still serve as an event venue. That's where some concerns come in. The buyers are seeking a sound permit to hold events 36 days a year, with volume levels between 85 and 95 decibels. Milang said he understands concerns from residents who dealt with noise before, but their vision for the property isn't a concert hall.

RELATED: Malo partners looking to purchase Des Moines Social Club

"The social club probably left a bad taste in their mouths, and I understand. We relate to them from the beginning. And we're going to try to be the best neighbors we can. We want to be in good standing with our neighbors," he said.

The buyers are currently in the due diligence period before the sale can be made official. They're hoping to close the deal soon, but the issue of securing the sound permits has thrown a wrinkle in the plan. Even so, they're still optimistic about the sale.

"We're starting to get to a point where the timeframes getting a little bit more difficult, but I think we'll get something resolved here fairly soon," Milang said.

Des Moines City Council hasn't voted on the permit one way or another, but at a work session on April 18, one suggestion that came up would keep noise in the courtyard to 85 decibels, and on the rooftop to 65 decibels. That proposal would also end events by 10 p.m.

RELATED: Des Moines City Council rejects proposed noise ordinance for Lauridsen Amphitheater

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