February 27, 2024

Council supports Legacy Plaza housing project

City could grant up to $50K for multi-family housing units

The City of Newton formally supports a private developer’s project to adapt several buildings at Legacy Plaza into a multi-use development, which would include elements of housing, hospitality, event space and retail.

Des Moines Area Community College, which owns the former Maytag buildings that make up Legacy Plaza, has long envisioned the creation of multi-family housing units in Building 16. DMACC has since partnered with developers.

To be eligible for workforce housing tax credits, the development group — registered in Iowa as Legacy Plaza, LLC — needed official support from the Newton City Council. On June 1, council voted unanimously in the project’s favor.

“We’re hopeful for a successful application,” Kim Didier, executive director of DMACC Business Resources and project manager of Legacy Plaza, said, noting further project details are being held back until credits are secured.

As part of the support, the city also has agreed to financially commit $1,000 in grants per residential unit developed in Building 16 of Legacy Plaza. Currently, the project is expected to provide roughly 50 apartment units.

This allows the city to provide up to $50,000 to the project.

City documents say the only available funding source for these grants comes from the $1.5 million already set aside for supporting the Legacy Plaza campus. Staff support backfilling the $50,000 when bonding next occurs.

Other than the proposed apartments in Building 16, DMACC is hoping to fill other spaces in Buildings 1, 2 and 50 with businesses, restaurants, event space or other applicable options.

Legacy Plaza has been conceptualized as a multi-use neighborhood, Didier said. There are advantages to having housing units in the complex. People will regularly visit the community, which supports the nearby amenities.

The Cellar Peanut Pub, Engage Coworking, Gezellig Brewing Co., Sequoia Fitness and many others, are among the tenants residing inside the buildings of Legacy Plaza. Housing may help secure even more amenities, Didier said.

“So that’s been part of why we’ve been really focusing on this part of the strategy of multi-family housing,” Didier said. “My understanding is, regardless of market, people always need housing.”

Rob Denson, president of DMACC, thanked the Newton City Council for considering its support of the project with developer Legacy Plaza, LLC. DMACC has been working alongside the city for some time. Denson said he’s excited for what the developer has to offer.

“(We) look forward to your support and that this project will continue on to be a great addition not only to Legacy Plaza but the entire city,” Denson said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com