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DES MOINES, Iowa– Des Moines celebrated back to back banner years for building and the new year is starting out just as solid. Development topped $782-million in building permits last year and beat the previous record by more than $100 million.

“I don’t know if we’ll hit 700 again, but just knowing what’s in that pipeline, I think we have a really good chance of coming close and there’s gonna be projects that get announced and break ground in 2017 that I don’t even know about right now,” said Des Moines Assistant City Manager Matt Anderson.

Anderson heads up the city’s economic development efforts and says unlike in the past, this wave of downtown development is diversified.

“We have a strong hospitality sector with a lot of hotels under construction, housing is obviously booming particularly downtown, the office market is coming back,” said Anderson.

The East Village was the hot spot for construction in 2016. The Market District to the south and the Bridge District north of the East Village are expected to follow suit in 2017.

The sprawl stretches outside of the downtown area over to Ingersoll Avenue. The old China One Buffet site will soon be transformed into a new mixed use space.

“We’ve got four stories of residential over the top of that commercial. There are a 165 total units in this building,” said Eric Wessels with Simonson & Associates Architects.

Phase One of the project includes restaurants and retail, apartments plus all the amenities including a roof top pool and hot tub with a view. Construction is expected to be complete by May of 2018.

Wessels says developers near and far are investing in Des Moines.

“They see what’s going on here and they see it’s a great market to be in,” said Wessels.

The area is experiencing so much building that skilled labor is hard to come by. Anderson says plumbers, electricians, and welders are being brought in from out of state to meet the need.