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Continued Development Reveals Downtown DSM Isn't Slowing Down

Downtown DSM Ongoing Development

What if we told you there is over a half a billion dollars of development happening in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) right now? Would you believe it?

What if we told you there are 650 new housing units under development? Would you believe that?

The truth is both facts are true. It is not all doom and gloom out there.

While we know the pandemic is real, we would like to remind everyone there are still good things happening in Downtown DSM, and with cautious optimism, Downtown DSM can lead our region beyond COVID-19.

In the Works

From increasing housing and hotel options to exciting new public space projects like the Lauridsen Skatepark, Downtown DSM is still creating growth and innovating in beloved downtown neighborhoods.


New units are listed below:

  • Grays Station — 89 units
  • Bridge District — 95 units
  • 418 E. Grand Development — 99 units
  • Argonne Apartments — 45 units
  • Connolly Lofts — 57 units
  • District at 6th — 213 units
  • Edison Condominiums — 52 units

The housing additions listed above relate to a $155 million investment from various development companies, including Hubbell Realty, Nelson, Jarcor, LLC, Frank Levy and TWG Development.


Lincoln McIllravey, Lawmark, Jenssen Lodging, Inc. and Aparium Hotels have nearly $157 million in nearly complete and planned hotels:

  • Element Hotel — 112 units
  • Financial Center — 190 units
  • Hotel Fort Des Moines — 275 units
  • Surety Hotel — 138 units


Office additions are being completed at 611 5th Ave., Gray’s Landing, 1201 Keo Way and Fidelity.

Public Projects

Public projects include work on the Lauridsen Skate Park, the Greater Des Moines Water Trails, the Downtown DSM Bridges and the Federal Courthouse.

Other projects being reviewed include the DSM Heritage Center, the City of Des Moines’ Transload Facility and development in the Market District. The total capital investment of all ongoing projects is $507 million.

Attracting Talent

Over the past couple of decades downtowns have become places that attract talent. By building a place that supports small business and an entrepreneurial eco-system, Downtown DSM has an opportunity. Given the current situation, this is the time for Downtown DSM to re-invent and accelerate the pace of turning downtown into a more walkable, diverse and inclusive place for everyone.

Development continues to happen here in Downtown DSM. We are working from a position of strength. Economically healthy robust downtowns create a region’s identity, while walkable downtowns signal of social health. As we navigate our way through this new normal, the timing could not be better for a new Downtown DSM Vision Plan, one that makes the most of the capital investments referenced above.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 17 percent below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life.

Jake Christensen and Hallie Still-Caris

Hallie Still-Caris works for Nyemaster Goode. Jake Christsen is President of Christensen Development.