$18.3 million restoration project for former Howard Johnson hotel

US: The three-storey property in Des Moines, which currently operates as apartments, is to be converted back to its original use as a hotel.

The project, which also includes converting a medical building into a restaurant and bar, will be developed by Jake Christensen at 2525 Grand Avenue.

“The 1950s-style of the building will lend itself to creating a vibe and feel that currently doesn’t exist in Des Moines,” Christensen said. “The appearance of the building is going to change dramatically. I think people will be surprised by what we plan on doing”.

Originally, the building opened in 1962 as the Howard Johnson motor lodge before it was converted into apartments more than 25 years later.

Kris Maggard, executive director of the avenues of Ingersoll and Grand, added: “It’s an impressive section of the city for visitors to see. As a destination district, we’re thrilled at the prospect of a hotel in the mix, especially a unique concept reflecting the mid-century character”.

The Des Moines City Council approved preliminary terms of an urban renewal development agreement that includes tax increment financing over 14 years, capped at $2.5 million or at 13.7 per cent of the $18.3 million in development costs.

It is estimated that the project will generate about $3.6 million in hotel-motel tax revenue during the 14 years, with more than $15 million in tax revenue to be generated over 30 years.

Renovation will likely begin in spring 2020 and is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Around 75 tenants occupy the building at present, and will be assisted with finding other places to live.

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