Success of Midtown Heights Development Reflects Buyers’ Attraction to Central Des Moines

DES MOINES – The recent sell-out of townhomes near the west edge of downtown reflects the current strength of the metro’s housing market and is likely to set the stage for similar construction in the near future, a local real estate executive said today.

Steve Niebuhr, Hubbell Realty Co. senior vice president of construction and development, said buyers closed on the last of the Midtown Heights development’s 17 three-story townhomes in June.

“I’ve called Midtown Heights an ‘in-betweener’ because it’s close to downtown and it’s part of the Ingersoll neighborhood mix. It’s a unique product because it offered a suburban townhome with two-car garage in an urban setting at a very reasonable price. We found that had tremendous appeal,” Niebuhr said. “It provides quick, clean access to downtown yet for people working in the western suburbs, there’s easy access to I-235 for an easy ‘reverse commute.’ It really fit well with all the positive activity in the Ingersoll neighborhood and sets an eastern boundary for that redevelopment.”

While the majority of buyers are young professionals, Niebuhr noted that some empty nesters purchased homes. The townhomes also sparked interest among the parents of some students at Des Moines University and Drake University.

Niebuhr said the much-publicized federal tax credit to stimulate housing sales was not a driving motivator for buyers. Instead, the city’s tax abatement on property taxes was especially appealing.

“When potential buyers ran through the numbers, they saw the abatement made the cost of the homes at Midtown Heights equal to a row home or townhome in the suburbs. That was a huge consideration and, in fact, it was part of our sales program,” he said.

The townhomes, which sold from $177,900 to $189,900, were built on property acquired privately and from the city. Each home’s exterior features its own unique color and design with a private entrance, deck and tuck-under garages.

Niebuhr indicated the project’s success foreshadows the construction of similar housing. “Based on our success at Midtown Heights, we’re looking at moving ahead with similar homes in the downtown area based on what the sale of these townhomes told us,” he said.

Hubbell Realty has been a staple in the Des Moines real estate market for over 150 years. Its superior craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail has established its reputation for excellence and value. Buildings that Hubbell has constructed for over a century remain prominent throughout the Des Moines metro today.

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