December 8, 2022

Convention center, hotel project proposed in West Des Moines

A convention center with attached hotels is proposed on 5.5 acres at Stagecoach Drive and…

Convention center, hotel project proposed in West Des Moines

Convention center, hotel project proposed in West Des Moines

A convention center with attached hotels is proposed on 5.5 acres at Stagecoach Drive and Market Street in West Des Moines. The project, which would include a five-level parking structure with more than 1,000 spaces, is estimated to cost between $60 million and $70 million. Architectural rendering by Keith E. Carlso Architect. 

A Texas developer is proposing to build a convention center with two attached flagship hotels on property in West Des Moines that has been slow to develop.

Amit Goel, who has ties to several development entities located in Houston, is proposing a development valued at between $60 million and $70 million on 5.5 acres at 585 Market St. in West Des Moines. The vacant ground is located just north of the REI retail store at 5901 Mills Civic Parkway.

The proposed development would include a Hyatt House located on one side of the five-story structure and an Aloft Hotel operated by Marriott International on the other side. In between the two hotels, which would have an estimated 230 rooms, would be a conference center with several meeting rooms and a ballroom, according to a site plan for the proposed project.

Also planned is a five-level parking structure with more than 1,000 parking spaces.

Goel originally proposed building apartments on the site. In summer 2019, he approached West Des Moines city officials about the proposed convention center-hotel project, said Clyde Evans, the city’s community and economic development director.

“The coronavirus upended the apple cart there for a while,” Evans said. “They’ve told us that they have changed a lot of things in the design based on where national [hotel] chains are going in terms of touchless registration.”

Evans said that while the pandemic has wreaked havoc with the hospitality industry, studies are projecting the industry will return. “How strong they will come back isn’t known, but the Des Moines market has always been a good, strong market,” he said.

Goel has talked with numerous business leaders in the area about what type of facility they would like to see, Evans said. “They’ve done quite a bit of homework about what the market would or would not support.”

Construction of the complex is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed in mid-2023, Evans said. “At that point, the vaccine will have been distributed and we’ll have developed herd immunity,” he said.

Goel, through his development subsidiaries, bought the parcel proposed for development around 2015. The property was part of a collection of parcels Goel’s real estate entities purchased after a previous landowner lost the land in a foreclosure proceeding.

“Our hope is that this will help spur a lot of other development on the surrounding parcels,” Evans said. Some parcels in the area have sat undeveloped for a number of years, he said.

The West Des Moines City Council today is expected to set a public hearing for March 1 to adopt the Ponderosa Urban Renewal Plan. The 5.5-acre site proposed for the convention center and hotels is located in the proposed urban renewal area.

Designating the area an urban renewal area will allow the city of West Des Moines to offer developers property tax rebates or enter into reimbursement agreements with developers, Evans said. 

The city is expected to reimburse the developer up to $49 million of development costs for the convention center portion of the project and the parking structure, Evans said. The city is not reimbursing the developer for costs associated with building the hotels, he said.

The council is expected to approve a development agreement with Gael in the spring or summer.