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Offer Accepted for the Sale of the Historic Firehouse No. 1

September 9, 2021

GREATER DES MOINES, IA (September 9, 2021) – The Des Moines Social Club Transition Board of Directors has announced it has reached agreement with Matt Abbott, principal owner of Abbott Properties, Abbott Events and Abbott Hospitality Group for the sale of the Historic Firehouse No. 1 campus. Proceeds from the sale will be used to retire outstanding debt obligations and also re-invested to support arts, culture and community in Greater Des Moines.

The Des Moines Social Club Transition Board was formed in 2019 with a charge to reimagine the campus and business model of the Des Moines Social Club. The Social Club’s mission was to provide programming of arts disciplines to all and to use the arts as a catalyst to create community engagement. Through a thorough review process, the Transition Board found the current model and ongoing operations of the facility could not be sustained. The Transition Board listed the property and sought a partner whose interest in the property maximized its potential and celebrated the spirit of the original Social Club. This was found in the expertise and resources Abbott Properties can offer the campus, bringing the right combination of needs to revive and energize this important community asset.

“While selling the campus was a difficult decision, the sustainability of the historic firehouse and the opportunity to continue to support arts, culture, and community have been our top priorities,” said Rob Feeney, Chairman, Firehouse Transition Board. “We are very proud to be hitting these priorities and we are extremely confident in the future of this space as we welcome the Abbott team to Des Moines.”

“My passion has been repurposing historic buildings to contribute to neighborhoods and to be places of creativity and community,” said Matt Abbott. “With our expertise in restoring historic buildings and creating community gathering places, we are committed to keeping the integrity and the authenticity of the original building and showcase it, while repurposing the space.”

Abbott anticipates reviving the Viaduct Art Gallery, leveraging the first floor for commercial/retail and repurposing the 2nd floor into an upscale event space. The courtyard will be utilized for outdoor music events and the Kum & Go Theater Building will be transformed into a boutique speakeasy concept.

Sale of the property is contingent upon Des Moines City Council consideration on Monday, September 13, 2021. This requirement was stipulated in previous contracts when the Des Moines Social Club acquired the property from the city in 2012. With City Council approval, the due diligence period will immediately commence with a closing anticipated in the next 60 days.

About the Des Moines Social Club Transition Board of Directors

The Des Moines Social Club Transition Board is made up of local leaders and was established to pursue a year-round public market at Historic Firehouse No. 1, offering arts, culture, community building and more. Members of the Board can be viewed here.