Fort Des Moines Rehabilitation (Des Moines)

Wide view of Fort Des Moines buildings at twilight

Wide view of Fort Des Moines buildings at twilight

2019 Preservation at its Best: Sustainability in Preservation

Fort Des Moines is a symbol of Iowa’s civil right leadership. As the home of the first African American officer training program, in 1917, and the nation’s first Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, during World War II, the fort’s buildings are visible reminders of Iowa’s progressive past. Blackbird Investments and James Spiller acquired four army barracks and two horse stables and converted them into 142 affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments. Green spaces with new native grasses and unharmed old trees, a trail system, and bio-retention cells make the site environmentally friendly. Bike racks and memberships in the nearby YMCA encourage residents to exercise and pursue healthy life choices. The project tapped into the largest source of tax credits in Iowa, featuring a unique blend of funding sources, including historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits and enterprise zone tax credits, as well as incentives from the city of Des Moines.

Preservation Iowa’s two most visible programs are Iowa’s Most Endangered and Preservation at Its Best. These two programs work well together because being listed as Most Endangered often times leads to awareness, a preservation effort, and a high-quality, award winning project.

The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2019 Preservation at its Best award winners includes: