Century-Old Des Moines Building in Process of Being Renovated

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Benchmark Real Estate Group has a lot of work ahead in its efforts to rehab a historic building in downtown Des Moines.

The last tenants of 1723 Grand Avenue in the Argonne building moved out in March.

V.P. Development Services at Benchmark, Jackie Nickolaus, said the project is estimated to cost $8 million and will take ten to 12 months to renovate.

“We have funding from the city of Des Moines, so our goal is to bridge that gap in the state historic tax credit so that we can start on the renovation and reapply again next year,” Nickolaus said.

Built in 1919, the Argonne building was part of “auto row” on both Locust Street and Grand Avenue. It housed employees who worked in the “Model T” factory across the street. It is now known as Central Campus.

Nickolaus said during renovations there will be an additional two units added, making a total of 45 studio and one-bedroom apartments available for rent.

The renovation will include adding a new HVAC system, plumbing and electrical.

Nickolaus said something will also come of the advertising billboard located on the roof of the Argonne building.

“We do plan to keep the structure because it is in a period of significance for the building. We are going to put art or some kind of building signage there. We have not worked through that yet, because it is eligible for the national register. We will have to work with the state, historic preservation office to determine what that is,” Nickolaus said.

Nickolaus said the renovation is set to begin in the fall of 2019. It is estimated to be complete by the end of 2020.

There will be five underground parking spots available to tenants on the first floor, otherwise, people will have to utilize street parking.

Seven-thousand square feet of commercial will remain on the first floor facing Grand Avenue.

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