Described as both “a health and safety threat” and “a public nuisance” by the city of Des Moines, the long vacant and neglected Mercy Franklin Clinic has a new owner who plans to tear it down, leaving the room for people with mixed incomes. residences and new commercial projects.
Abbey Gilroy, executive director of the nonprofit Neighborhood Development Corp., confirmed her purchase of the property at 1818 48th St. Demolition on the 3.6-acre site where the neighborhoods of Waveland Park, Beaverdale and Merle Hay will start in August.
Funded by the city to improve run-down commercial areas, Neighborhood Development Corp. is planning a series of meetings in July and August for community members to say how they would like to see the redSearch Assets property develop.
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“We’d rather they tell us what they want this area to be for the next 50 to 100 years,” Gilroy said. “And in a few years, construction will begin.”
Gilroy said the residential part of the project will serve people at different economic levels.
“I think what’s really important is to have a mixed approach,” she said. “It has to be a real workforce” of housing.
Expecting to complete the sale in June, Gilroy has its own thoughts on the development.
“There’s just tons of foliage and green space, so we want to keep that look,” she said.
Other early proposals include the possible creation of a market, a dog park and a cafe “that people can walk from their homes, come in and have a cup of coffee,” Gilroy said.
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She also spoke of the possibility of further positive changes in the region. “It can be a multi-phased project. If you look all the way down this road, there’s a lot of room for redevelopment,” she said.
Previous owner intended commercial, office, condo use
Free since 2014, the property had already been purchased in 2019 by local developer Jeff Young, owner of We Can Build It. His company sold him to Carl Tessmer in October 2021 for $556,500, according to Polk County Assessor records.
Plans announced by Young included remodeling the first floor into retail and office space and adding a new second floor with 30 condo units.
He intended it to complement his other major project in the neighborhood, Franklin Junior High School, just across Franklin Avenue. He bought the former school-turned-church for $2 million in 2018 with plans to convert it into a mixed-use property with a concert hall, restaurant, brewery, cafe, offices and hotel. -shop.
The Des Moines Registry could not reach Young to comment on how the sale of the old clinic might affect its plans.
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While the property sat vacant for the two years following its purchase by Young, city building inspections identified multiple hazards, including mold, holes in the roof, and damaged walls and ceilings.
A January 2021 city inspection report issued a 30-day warning that the building must receive immediate repairs or be demolished.
The Neighborhood Development Corp. plans to spend the month of July carrying out asbestos removal work inside the building before its demolition.
Built in 1962, the structure opened as Northwest Community Hospital, Mercy Medical Center purchased the facility in 1993, renaming it Mercy Franklin Clinic and refocusing it on adult and pediatric psychiatric care. The clinic closed in 2014.
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A former resident of the area, Gilroy described Neighborhood Development Corp. as being “looking for these next up-and-coming little business nodes all over town.”
His projects include the La Placita Mall on East Grand at the corner of East Grand Avenue and 16th Street East and Madison Flats, a three-story, 27-unit apartment building at 1720 Indianola Ave.
Richard Lane is the real estate reporter for the Des Moines Register. He can be contacted at email@example.com.