The area near the corner of SE 14th St and Army Post Road was once the busy shopping center, Southridge Mall. In 2012, the City of Des Moines partnered with Macerich Southridge Mall, LLC, the company who owned the property, to rebuild this once popular spot.
Currently, there are five main phases of projects that are apart this development agreement; all are part of a long-term plan and vision between the owners and the City to make this 117-acre property into a vibrant mixed-use area once again.
The former Sears Department Store at Southridge Mall was emptied in the Summer of 2016 as Sears started closing many of their locations across the United States and has been empty for the past five years. A new proposal that has flexibility for the uses of the building is getting started to make something useful for the whole community. The Kansas-based company, Genesis Health Club, will be remaking the space into one of their state-of-the-art facilities with personal trainers, aquatics, group fitness, and more. Along with this athletic club will be a multi-sports facility with basketball and volleyball courts, gymnastics, and a swimming pool. The existing building has 108,800 square feet of available space. Almost 42,400 square feet is planned to be made into a basketball/volleyball court and about 41,800 square feet is planned to be used as a Genesis Health Club facility with a cardio fitness area, free weight training area, gym equipment, aerobics studio, cycling studio, childcare facility, and a 5-lane, 25-yard lap pool. Current plans leave roughly 24,600 square feet of available space for future development. Part of the City’s agreement for the redevelopment of this space is that Genesis will provide annual scholarships and subsidies for children of households whose incomes are at or below 50% of the area’s median income to participate in sports leagues and classes offered by Genesis. As of April 1, 2021, the eligible household income starting point is at or below $45,650. Genesis Health Club is expected to give a minimum of $2.95 million in scholarships and gifts at this location over the next 20 years as part of their agreement with the City.
The previous location of the Toys-R-Us store near Southridge closed in 2018 and has been empty until the property was bought by Johnson Healthcare Real Estate in 2020. Thanks to Johnson Healthcare Real Estate, this building will see a new purpose: a state-of-the-art, multi-specialty Veterans’ Affairs outpatient clinic. Since they have been consistently recognized as one of the leading healthcare real estate developing firms in the US, this addition will not only be a beneficial veterans’ outpatient clinic but provide a variety of services for the surrounding residents, too.
Services and operations will include:
- Primary care
- Physical medicine
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prosthetic services
- Pathology laboratory
- Radiological services
- Behavioral health
On the southeastern edge of the Southridge Mall, Unity Point has built a new Urgent Care Clinic in 2018 on one of the available outer areas continuing the vision and goal of a mixed use in and around the Southridge Mall property. This location will be used for those emergencies that don’t necessarily need a trip to the emergency room and have availability until 8PM on weekdays and longer hours (from 8AM-4PM) on weekends.
To the west of the mall area are 52 senior housing units that were built in 2017. The newly constructed building is 4 stories tall and 57,392 sq ft. The senior housing facility offers a mix of one and two-bedroom units on a total of 1.9 acres. The housing units also include Energy Star-rated appliances, programmable thermostats, and energy-efficient water heaters.
To the south of the old mall 288 multi-family housing units were built between 2018 and 2019. The project includes 10 3-story buildings with 112 1-bedroom units and 176 2-bedroom units. Each has a detached garage structure and access to a community clubhouse that will have a swimming pool on the southwest corner of the site. Out of the 288 units, 259 are set aside for affordable living for households at or below the 60% median income level to the area. As of April 1, 2021, here are the families who will qualify:
1 Member 2 Members 3 Members 4 Members
30,180 34,500 38,820 43,080
5 Members 6 Members 7 Members 8 Members
46,560 49,980 53,460 56,880
The rest of 29 housing units are priced at market rate. The project includes landscaping to the south of the parking lot and a retention basin for stormwater designed to look more natural with native plants.
The overall goal of these projects is to use this area for the good of the surrounding Des Moines neighborhoods and encourage more growth. Revitalizing this area will continue to help make the City of Des Moines a great place for both its residents and visitors.