New high-end downtown developments offer Des Moines a new skyline

With a new influx of apartment buildings and condos springing up across the Des Moines metro and in the heart of downtown, the city is showing signs of growing into a top destination for young professionals – especially those with well-padded pocket books.

Several new high-end developments have been announced and some have begun construction, so here’s a bit more information on where you could find yourself in Des Moines one day. There are thousands of rental units being planned and built, an exciting time for real estate companies who are eager to get back to selling in a post-recession economy that has mostly recovered.

To learn more about this trend, we called Joel Aschbrenner, the business and real estate reporter for the Des Moines Register.

Aschbrenner says developers are all in on the metro and downtown markets, because the demand is piling up.

“Young people are graduating, getting jobs … young people are also putting off homeownership longer so that means more time in rentals,” Aschbrenner said. “But here, I really look at it as, you look at census data — the metro area added about 50,000 people from 2010 to 2015 … and those people have to live somewhere.”

And due to that demand, the price of these new buildings and renovated lofts is passing the $1,000 threshold, something new for the Des Moines market.

Amenities, some more ridiculous than others (a ‘floating’ swimming pool?!), are being included in order to distinguish projects as more ‘upscale’ and luxurious, according to Aschbrenner.

In addition to the presumed economic boom associated with new, younger adults living in the downtown area — most of the developers for the new rental projects are Des Moines-based developers. So, this trend has been perceived as a positive one for the Des Moines economy on multiple fronts.

Here are some of the newest, high-end structures you could find yourself in in a few years:

Nexus at Gray’s Landing – a 120-unit structure that’s not scheduled to be completed until the Spring of 2017. It’s being built from the ground-up, something that isn’t as common in the downtown area. Often, lofts are repurposed from archaic warehouses or old factory buildings. But at this new building, located on SW 11th Street, downtown amenities like shopping and high end restaurants are nearby, so it’s convenient.

Confluence on 3rd – 211-unit studio to two bedroom apartments that are easily above the $1,000 mark, as it’s right in the business district of downtown. It also offers an outdoor pool and hot tub, rooftop patio, a dog wash station and heated underground parking.

A new, 33-story sky-scraper – yes, you read that correctly. Imagine a building that just peaks past the roofline of the Marriott and is second in height to only the 801 building. You can read more about the project (that’s likely a ways off from being completed) in Aschbrenner’s recent front-page Des Moines Register article.