Building Boom in Downtown Des Moines Is Expected to Continue

Jan 3, 2017

Housing complexes and commercial buildings are going up in downtown neighborhoods of cities across the state. Developers often point to the construction boom in Des Moines as a model. The activity is expected to continue in the Capitol City heading into 2017.

One of the 40 building sites in downtown Des Moines heading into 2017.
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Apartments and condos are attracting urban dwellers to the NewBo District of Cedar Rapids, along the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities, and to revitalized areas of Waterloo and Sioux City. Nowhere is the building scene more visible than downtown Des Moines. The vice president for downtown development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Tim Leach, says there are 3,500 living units currently under construction.

“Downtown has no shortage of projects," Leach says. "I believe there are 40 development projects in downtown currently. That's $2.4 billion worth of projects.”

Leach says the building flurry should continue given the number of building permits issued last year.

“Des Moines had a record number of building permits last year," he says. There were $700 million in building permits.”        

Leach, says builders are racing to meet pent-up demand left by the Great Recession. He says population growth in Central Iowa and a healthy economy will mean vibrant construction activity over at least the next two years.