Recent News

Capital Crossroads to mark successes, make adjustments

Reported in the Business Record – 9/29/2014

BY PERRY BEEMAN | Senior Staff Writer

Capital Crossroads unveils a sort-of mid-term report card Tuesday in a public session designed to highlight successes and announce some adjustments to the five-year visioning and economic-development effort.

Gene Meyer, president of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said the session will set up the final two years of  work, now focused on action steps in 11 areas that include, for example, cultural and urban issues and the recently named Cultivation Corridor.

Then it will be time for Capital Crossroads 2.0 as the work to improve Des Moines and the area within a 50-mile radius continues, he added.

“It started as a vision plan but now is an action plan,” Meyer said. “A lot of things have happened, but we aren’t done.”

Market Street Services of Atlanta, Ga. handled the original Capital Crossroads study that included contacts with 5,000 people. The firm more recently spent 90 days in the area assessing progress.

J. Mac Holladay, CEO of Market Street Services, will review the results, and suggested changes from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. William H. Fruth, president of POLICOM Corp., also will speak at the event. POLICOM, an independent economic research firm, this year named the Des Moines metro area economy as the strongest among the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas.

Meyer said examples of successes include efforts by local cities to review city managers in part on how well they cooperate with other jurisdictions, and training at Des Moines Area Community College that illustrates how public works, police, fire, and parks and recreation departments can become more efficient by cooperating with departments in neighboring cities.

Kum & Go buys former Crescent Chevrolet site

Reported in the Business Record – 9/19/2014

Add another square block, and a little more, to Kum & Go LC’s holdings in downtown Des Moines. The company paid $2 million for property between 16th and 17th streets and Linden and High streets, as well as a sliver of land at the southeast corner of 17th and Linden. Woody 1 LLC, an entity created by Terrus Real Estate Group, paid $995,000 for the properties in 2008. A Kum & Go spokeswoman said tentative plans are for a convenience store and training center at the site. The deed was signed Tuesday and recorded today. Read a related story here.

IT firm Cognizant to buy TriZetto for $2.7 billion

Reported in the Business Record – 9/15/2014

The New York Times: Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. said on Monday that it has agreed to buy the health care information technology company TriZetto Corp. for $2.7 billion in cash. The deal is expected to bolster Cognizant’s health care business by creating a combined company with more than $3 billion in revenue from their health care operations and serving health plans that provide coverage to about 180 million Americans. In June 2012, Cognizant entered into a seven-year agreement with ING U.S., now Voya Financial, to operate an information technology center in downtown Des Moines.

Equitable fire a ‘hiccup’ in development plans

BY KENT DARR | Senior Staff Writer | @KentDarrReported in the Business Record 9/2/14

A fire over the weekend in a crawl space has delayed renovation plans for the landmark Equitable Building at Sixth Avenue and Locust Street by about one month, an owner said today.

Shawn Foutch said that after assessing the damage he talked to investment partners, who have said that their support for the  renovation was not shaken by a fire early Saturday that appears to have started in an air conditioning unit.

“One of equity partners basically said, ‘Assess the damage, roll it into the project and let’s go,’ ” Foutch said.

Foutch and his brothers, operating as Foutch Bros. LLC., bought the building out of foreclosure for $460,000 in 2012 and announced an $18 million conversion of what was once the tallest office building in the city to 120 apartments, while preserving office and retail spaces on the lower floors.

After walking through the building with fire investigators, Foutch said the cause appears to have been an air conditioning apparatus outside the second floor. Fire spread into a crawl space between the second and third floors, where it was confined.

Foutch said the sound construction of 90-year-old building apparently prevented the fire from spreading to other floors.

There is smoke damage throughout the building and water damage from the third floor down.

One area of concern has been whether the fire penetrated material that has encapsulated asbestos. That once-common fire retardant has been at the cause of woe at the Equitable Building, which was once owned by the late Bob Knapp. Knapp served a federal prison sentence for violating federal air standards for abatement of the hazardous substance. Knapp died a few days after completing the prison term.

Foutch said the entire building is being considered as a hazardous waste site until inspectors determine whether asbestos is a new threat. He believes an inspection should be completed by Thursday.

Renovation of the building was scheduled to begin in November or December. That work probably has been delayed by about 30 days.

“We’ll get through this hiccup, and then we’ll be on our way,” Foutch said.

Does East Village have enough parking?

reported in the Des Moines Register, Joel Aschbrenner, – 8/27/14

You should be able to find a parking spot in the East Village. But you might have to walk a block or two.

That’s the conclusion of a recently completed parking study commissioned by the city of Des Moines and the Historic East Village Board, a neighborhood association.

Parking has been a growing point of contention in the trendy neighborhood as developers transform surface parking lots into new apartments, hotels and storefronts. Some business owners and residents scoff at the idea that the area has too much parking, while advocates for urban planning say the East Village is meant to be a dense neighborhood where walkability trumps easy parking.

Some 82 percent of business owners and 73 percent of customers and visitors surveyed said the East Village needs more parking.

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