West Des Moines’ Valley West Inn will be demolished after fire, years of vacancy

A former hotel in West Des Moines extensively damaged by a fire two years ago will be demolished.

Ryan Moffatt, West Des Moines’ community and economic development director, said Wednesday the city issued a demolition permit Aug. 22 for the Valley West Inn, 3535 Westown Parkway. City officials hope that clears the way for commercial and multi-family residential development at the site.

The former extended-stay hotel has been vacant since October 2021, when a large fire broke out and injured several people.

Last year, Greater Des Moines Supportive Housing said it planned to purchase the property and convert it into permanent supportive housing for the homeless, youths aging out of foster homes, people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and anyone else who needs care as well as an affordable place to live. 

But “the developer indicated that they could not pull together enough funding sources to make the project pencil out and move forward in a timely fashion, so they let their option on the property lapse,” Moffatt said.

The nonprofit had budgeted $21.8 million for the remodel. It had sought $2.84 million from the city, including $840,000 from its Workforce Housing Rental Program and tax increment financing.

Moffatt said crews disconnected plumbing and sewer lines and conducted asbestos remediation early in September. He expects full demolition to be completed in November.

Once demolition is finished, the exact future of the property is unclear.

“We have not yet received any proposals for the redevelopment of the site and our understanding is that the property remains listed for sale,” Moffatt said.

Valley West Inn LLC bought the property in 2011. The last listed property manager could not be reached for comment.

The Polk County Assessor this year valued the 2.67 acres of land the derelict hotel sits on at more than $2 million. The more than 116,000-square-foot building only garnered $300 in value. 

The building alone had been worth almost $2 million before the fire, according to the assessor’s records. 

The property is located a block away from Valley West Mall and Interstate 235 and is bordered by a real estate agent, retail chains, a funeral home, gas station, another hotel and a restaurant. 

“While removing the damaged and vacant structure is a win for the community, the ultimate redevelopment of this site and of this entire block is certainly a priority for the city, and our desire would be for a mixed-use commercial and multi-family residential project,” Moffatt said.

He said the city would like to see multi-family residential units on the site of the former hotel and new mixed-use and retail developments to the east.

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