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Demolition Begins at Highland Park Apartments As Invest DSM Seeks Developer for Site in Highland Park Historic Business District

DES MOINES, IOWA — Saturday, September 23, 2023 — A milestone in a major development project in the Highland Park Historic business district is now underway as demolition began this morning on the Highland Park Apartment building. Invest DSM, a non-profit organization committed to neighborhood revitalization, is seeking proposals for a major development opportunity in the Highland Park and Oak Park Neighborhoods.

In the heart of the two north-side Des Moines neighborhoods, The Commons at Highland Park provides a mixed-use development site on the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and 6th Avenue. Invest DSM is seeking a developer to deliver upwards of 40 housing units along with street-level commercial space for future retail opportunities.

“We are looking for a development project that the Oak Park and Highland Park neighborhoods can be proud of for the next 100 years,” said Amber Lynch, Executive Director for Invest DSM. “We know people want to be in this area, and this site provides an opportunity for a new anchor development to support all of the other investment happening in the business district.”

Goals for the project include additional density in a mixed-use building with rental units available for a mix of income levels; design elements that complement the historic fabric of the business district with appropriate materials and detailing; an enhanced pedestrian environment with street trees and plantings; retail spaces that could accommodate restaurant uses and/or smaller, start-up retailers; building practices that promote long-term energy efficiency; and intentional connections to the adjacent bus routes.

Since receiving the demolition permit in June, Invest DSM has worked with neighborhood stakeholders, City of Des Moines staff, and Slingshot Architecture to develop conceptual plans for an example project to show developers how the project goals could be implemented. “We used the concept planning process to get input from the neighborhood so we could understand what is most important to them,” Lynch said. “We wanted neighbors to be able to visualize what a project could look like. At the same time, we want to leave the door open for development teams to be creative.” Developers can choose to carry the conceptual work forward or come up with their own design.

Interested developers are invited to an information meeting on October 5th. For meeting details, and to access the RFP, click here.

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