Fort Des Moines


6908 Chaffee Road, Des Moines, Iowa


142 Income-Restricted Residential Units


Completed 2018

Project Size

$39M Acquisition and Construction; Appraised at $17M


2019 Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Historic Rehabilitation Award for Residential Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact; The State Historical Society of Iowa 2019 Sustainability in Preservation; AIA Iowa 2019 Merit Impact Award; AIA 2019 Central Regions Award for Historic Preservation

About This Project

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. Some of the buildings date back to the turn of the twentieth century and have been adapted and reused for over one hundred years. It is one of few National Historic Landmarks in Iowa.

Fort Des Moines was the company’s first project and the reason why Blackbird was formed. The project includes seven former barracks and three horse stables that have been transformed into 142 one- and two-bedroom, income-restricted apartments units. The historic adaptive reuse provides energy-efficient geothermal systems and eco-friendly landscape promoting and preserving the health and general welfare of tenants.