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Blackbird Closes on Financing for Historic Fort Des Moines Renovation

July 17, 2017 Des Moines, IA – Blackbird Investments has finalized all funding for the renovation of existing Fort Des Moines structures. The project includes renovating seven former barracks and three horse stables into 142 income-restricted apartments units.

The overall project cost is estimated to land close to $40 million. Majority of the funding proceeds came from state/federal historical tax credits and low-income housing tax credits.

Start of construction on the Fort is set for later this month, with the first building to come on line in spring of 2018. The construction will begin from the east to the west on the 14-acre area. Weitz was the original general contractor of the barracks and stables in 1917 and they have teamed with Blackbird Investments on being the general contractor of the renovations this time around as well.

Des Moines’s south side has seen significant economic development activity including South Ridge Mall, the Des Moines International Airport, and DMACC. What Blackbird Investments took note of was the slow development of multi-residential housing opportunities at this magnitude.

The tenants of the Fort will be provided a single or family membership to the Greater Des Moines YMCA. The location is ideal for families with the zoo being their next-door neighbor as well as the close proximity to local grocery stores.

Built in 1917, Fort Des Moines is rich with history. The site was known to be the nation’s first African-American officer training school as well as the home of the first Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, where more than 72,000 women completed training to assist the war effort during World War II.

Similar to a majority of Blackbird Investment’s projects, the historic adaptive re-use will provide energy efficient geothermal systems and eco-friendly landscape promoting and preserving the health and general welfare of the future tenants at the Fort site. Blackbird hopes to continue in the improvement and development of the south side once this project is complete.

Blackbird Investments specializes in adaptive re-use projects throughout Iowa. The local company currently oversees $150 million in projects completed or under development.