Des Moines, IA – Long a landmark in downtown Des Moines, The Historic Younkers Building, which will be renamed The Flagship Building, is undergoing a comprehensive restoration and conversion into 120 apartments and retail / office space.  Demolition is currently underway and substantial completion is scheduled for November of 2014.  The building is being developed by the Madison, Wisconsin based Alexander Company, a nationwide leader in the adaptive re-use of historic structures.

Originally constructed in 1899, the structure has been vacant since 2005, which ended more than 100 years of retailing on the site.  The building was the first in Iowa to install an escalator in 1939, and the historic Tea Room is beloved by many residents in Des Moines.

The rehabilitation of the Younkers Building into The Flagship Building is an early step in efforts to revitalize the Walnut Street Corridor, which is the next step in the revitalization of downtown Des Moines.

“The best projects are the ones where you aren’t just restoring a landmark, but also contributing to a sense of place and the revitalization of an entire area,” said Dave Vos, Development Project Manager for The Alexander Company.

The restoration of the building will bring unique characteristics to the apartments, including massive windows restored to the original historic appearance and 11 to 14 foot ceiling heights.  Finishes include hardwood laminate flooring and stainless steel appliances while common amenities include a rooftop deck, club room, fitness center and access to the skywalk system.  Heated underground parking will also be available.

The apartment unit floor plans are large, with one bedrooms averaging 800 square feet and two bedrooms ranging from 1,044 to 1,200 square feet.  Rents for one bedroom apartments will start at $722, and two bedrooms will range from $795 to $889.  All homes will be classified as workforce housing, a program that allows apartments to be available to people who may be otherwise be unable to afford a premium downtown location.   One criteria for this program is that an annual total household income may not exceed certain amounts:
1 person: $30,660
2 persons: $35,040
3 persons: $39,420
4 persons: $43,740

“Our market research has shown an incredible unmet demand for workforce housing in downtown Des Moines,” said Vos.

In addition to the apartments, The Flagship Building will also create over 50,000 square feet of available commercial and retail space.  The Tea Room will likely be available to the public as an event space.

The preservation and adaptive re-use of The Younkers Building into The Flagship Building is being done in accordance with the Iowa Greenstreet Standard for maximum energy efficiency upon completion.

“Historic preservation is the ultimate in green building,” said Joe Alexander, President of the Alexander Company.  “You’re recycling an entire building, greatly reducing the need to harvest new raw materials.”

Founded in 1981, The Alexander Company specializes in historic preservation, urban infill development and urban revitalization.  Involved in over $200 million of developments annually, The Alexander Company gives new life to historically significant buildings and once-vibrant downtown neighborhoods.  


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