DES MOINES, Iowa — Hubbell Realty hopes to start on massive undertaking in Des Moines later this year.
The realty company wants to take 75 acres of land and turn it into a 1,100 unit development called Gray’s Station.
The development, which Hubbell says will feel more like a neighborhood, will take up space between Martin Luther King Boulevard and the Raccoon River.
The plot of land used to be a rail yard, which poses some challenges for the real estate developer.
“With rail cars, there’s usually some sort of spillage, sooner or later somebody knocked the rail car over. We’re going to have environmental issues; we’re going to have to take care of them” said Hubbell President and CEO Rick Tollakson.
One environmental issue Hubbell is not worried about is the neighboring superfund site.
Property that once held a steel wheel and chemical manufacturing operation sits next to the proposed Gray’s Station.
“None of the superfund contamination has moved onto this site, so that’s all relegated over to another area” said Tollakson.
Tollakson says the project is much bigger than some of the loft style apartment projects completed over the recent years. Gray’s Station will be a mixture of townhouses, apartments, and condos. The homes will surround a dog park, retail shops and other green spaces; the price tag of the whole project? 250 million dollars.
“What we’ve seen interest in is a large diversity of product types, both rental and ownership in a walk-able community with walk-able amenities” said Tollakson.
Hubbell also has plans to create bridge from Gray’s Station to Gray’s Lake.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership says the unique neighborhood will help market the city to new citizens.
“It’ll be another really nice option for us to pitch to people as we recruit businesses here and we recruit employees here. So it’s another tool in our tool kit” said Greater Des Moines Partnership President Gene Meyer.
Hubbell says this is the last large parcel of land to develop in the downtown area, and it’s been a long time coming.
“If anything, people associate it with homeless camps. They see people coming up and down some of these roads where they camp out by the river. Scrub trees have taken over, it hasn’t been actively used for a long period of time” said Tollakson.
Hubbell says clearing the lot, and then actually developing it, will take at least ten years.
Tollakson hopes to have the cleanup phase of the project started later in 2017.