Historic East Village row house may be ‘in the way’

Building could be torn down if not moved

Posted by mw on January 25th, 2010 1:40 pm

An 1880’s rowhouse in Des Moines’ East Village is in danger of demolition. When the state purchased the house in 2006, preservationists began hearing that it might be torn down as part of the West Capitol Terrace project, Oltrogge said.

“A lot of people have looked at that little brick building as being in the way, and my hunch is that we’re going to lose it — and sooner rather than later,” Sarah Oltrogge said. “I think there are other solutions, but the state has no interest in moving it. (Officials are) waiting for someone to step forward and offer a solution.”

Oltrogge, who is a state employee but doesn’t work for the department making decisions about the row house, said she understands the state’s perspective about the building, although the possibility that the structure might be demolished saddens her.

“Row houses are from a bygone era. You just don’t see people building them anymore,” she said. “But developers have their own interests. They’ve done studies and know that it takes so much money to make the building into something usable. It always comes down to money.

“The bottom line, though, is that we cannot stand to lose any more of these buildings. Anytime a building goes down, Des Moines loses part of its character, yet all we can do is try to advocate for these buildings.”

In its published July 15, 2009, meeting minutes, the Combined Capitol Planning Commission said of the row house: “We have made no decisions other than the default direction to demolish the building … and to finish off the area as green space. Once again, we have not received any formal direction in terms of doing that; however, that is where we are headed.”

Read the full article at the Des Moines Register’s website.

To find out more, go to: www.desmoinesregister.com