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Des Moines city council approves preliminary terms for construction of high-rise apartment tower

The resolution would allow the city to move forward with negotiations surrounding the construction of a a 33-story, multi-family apartment tower at 515 Walnut St.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines city council voted in favor of a resolution approving preliminary terms for the construction of a 33-story, multi-family apartment tower in downtown Des Moines on Monday evening. 

Six members of the council approved the resolution. Councilmember Indira Sheumaker was not present at the meeting. 

The resolution would allow the city to move forward with negotiations surrounding the construction of a high rise apartment at 515 Walnut St., which is currently the site of the Kaleidoscope.

The council also unanimously authorized the city manager to execute a grant agreement for the project with developer Turrim, LLC. 

The proposed apartment building would include 360 units, as well as 1,400 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. 72 of the residential units would be priced "at an affordable rent structure", according to council documents. 

Prior to voting in favor of the resolution, councilmembers expressed their desire to ensure the project will benefit the community, even throughout the construction process. 

"This is an asset to our community and we want to make sure it's built correctly," said councilmember Joe Gatto.

Gatto and fellow councilmember Linda Westergaard advocated for an apprenticeship program to be worked into the agreement. 

"I want to make sure that those that are working, that are building this project are qualified and that they are paid a decent wage," Westergaard said.

According to Joseph Teeling, manager at Turrim, LLC, construction could begin as early as April 2023 and last approximately two years. 

While the preliminary agreement was approved, the city manager will come back with the final development agreement in the coming months.  

When the agreement is back in their lap, councilmembers are hoping to see assurances that the project is sustainable and feasible. 

"I think a 33-story tower that adds a lot of new housing downtown would be a tremendous asset, but making sure that there are protections in place if this project doesn't go forward, we'll be looking to see that in the final terms as well," said councilmember Josh Mandelbaum.

The project is expected to cost approximately $133 million.

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