Rowat Lofts Featured in the Annual Economic Development Bike Tour of Des Moines

The Annual Economic Development Bike Tour of Des Moines took place on May 23, 2019, and the tour made a stop at Rowat Lofts. This event is designed to give members a tour of new developments in the city, by bicycle and is yet another great event put on by the Downtown Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.

Alexander Grgurich, Director of Development and Chief Operating Officer, was a featured speaker of the tour and gave riders a look at the project, inside and out.




Nelson is excited about the continued construction of Rowat Lofts and bringing historic elements into the design of modern new-construction developments in Des Moines, Iowa. Rowat Lofts is eager to welcome its first tenants September 1, 2019.



Annual Economic Development Bike Tour Resource:

Innovating Parking Ramp Design Achieves Record Low Cost to Build


Nelson’s new parking ramp project at 555 East Fourth Street showcases an innovate way to achieve structured parking in Des Moines’ iconic East Village.

Traditionally, structured parking requires an immense investment of capital because of the extremely high construction costs to achieve multi-level parking ramps. Developers outside of major US cities are often forced to try and provide this parking with extremely low parking rents and the financial pro forma does not work as a viable project.

Faced with this challenge, Director of Development and Chief Operating Officer, Alexander Grgurich, started breaking down what drives the costs of structured parking and how the project team could deliver a cost effective parking solution that would work within the financial constraints of a pro forma. His idea to carve into a downtown hillside takes advantage of natural grade changes to provide three levels of parking that do not connect with each other, allowing each level to have its own entry and exit point on a different adjacent street. This cuts costs of ramping within the structure and relies on structural integrity of the surrounding hillside to reduce costs. This approach allowed the project to achieve a $21,379.63 construction cost per stall, a record low for structured parking in the greater Des Moines market.


Floors two and three of the ramp will be used by local residents, nearby office workers, and Capitol Hill Lutheran Church. Floor one of the ramp is being leased by the City of Des Moines and will provide hourly parking to the public in order to satisfy the high demand for parking in the bustling East Village part of downtown.



Nelson is a developer that continues to listen to the community and its members, and is then capable to turn those thoughts into innovative and unprecedented solutions that solve existing problems for tenants and community members alike.

Nelson Projects Featured at State of the City Address

The “State of the City” luncheon occurred today in Des Moines, Iowa and is a great annual event where the City Manager and Mayor share updates on the status of City finances and budget, economic development initiatives, new real estate developments, current public works projects, and much more.

Nelson was extremely proud to be the most active developer mentioned in the real estate portion of the luncheon, with project highlights for Miesblock, Rowat Lofts, E555 parking garage, 418 E Grand mixed-use, and the Home2 Suites by Hilton next to Drake University.

Home2 Rendering


Rowat Lofts

418 E Grandmiesblock-phase-ii-office-building-bnim-e5a10294-630c-4ac4-8db1-92c3fab1b2b1


Gov. Kim Reynolds Proclaims “Women in Construction Week”

NAWICOn February 20, 2019, Governor Kim Reynolds signed the proclamation for WIC Week, a week that is aimed at empowering women to grow their careers in construction, presenting them with opportunities for that growth, giving back to the community through acts of service, and recognizing the growing role of women in the construction industry.


Nelson’s Greater DSM Developments on ‘Watch for in 2019’ list

Nelson was highlighted for Miesblock and Rowat Lofts, two dynamic projects currently under construction, by the Des Moines Register as “10 things to look out for in downtown Des Moines in 2019”. Nelson is excited to continue to change downtown through innovative design and efficiency with the Miesblock skywalk node and office building, and are thrilled to expand into the neighborhood of Drake University through the Home2 Suites and retail mixed-use building. This list of great projects is sure to transform Des Moines and Nelson is proud to continue to play our part in that urban renaissance.

Rowat Lofts: Paying Homage to an Iconic Des Moines Stone Company

Screen Shot 2019-03-23 at 11.39.28 AMNelson is thrilled to honor the history of Rowat Cut Stone company through an apartment complex in the Market District of downtown Des Moines, a part of the wildly successful East Village neighborhood. Rowat Cut Stone company, a business that has been operational for 130 years, is moving operations to Norwalk and will continue their legacy of supplying projects with quality and craftsman-level stone work. Many do not realize that the limestone blocks that form the base of the State of Iowa Capitol building were cut at this historic site.

The Des Moines Register highlighted the project in a First Look excerpt, outlining some of the historical significance behind the development, as well as its details and amenities.


Hyatt Hotels Awards Nelson “Adaptive Reuse of the Year” Award


Nelson is honored to be awarded the global “Adaptive Reuse of the Year” award from Hyatt Hotels for the work done renovating the Custom House building in St. Paul, Minnesota. Hyatt is a global leader in the hospitality sector and it is humbling to be selected from a great pool of exceptional projects around the world. The work to turn a former US Post Office and Custom House building into a 149-room Hyatt Place brings a new and dynamic product to the Saint Paul market and is deeply rewarding. Nelson is excited to continue their work with Hyatt, renovating prominent historic structures and breathing new life into them with entirely new uses for the future.

Out of Downtown and into the Neighborhoods: Home2 Suites by Hilton

Home2 Rendering

Nelson is eager to take development outside of downtown and into the neighborhoods of Greater Des Moines. The Home2 Suites branded hotel by Hilton will feature an innovative combination between a modern extended stay hotel with retail and restaurant spaces along University Avenue. The Drake University neighborhood is full of dynamic growth and change and Nelson is thrilled to be a part of the new developments in the area.



The New York Times Features Custom House Project

New York Times Custom HouseAs Nelson finishes the final touches for the new Hyatt Place hotel in downtown St. Paul, the New York Times highlighted the entire building yesterday in a feature piece.

The story details the $125 million Custom House project, both the Hyatt Place hotel below and the luxury rental apartments above. As the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul continues to grow and develop, we look forward to welcoming guests to the new Hyatt Place hotel.

$66mm Miesblock Apartment Project Announced

Nelson Construction & Development’s newest project is a $66mm boutique / luxury mixed-use apartment project in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The site shares a block with a Mies van der Rohe building and the development team has gone to great lengths to incorporate design nods and an intentional relationship to the iconic building next door, even hiring Mies’ grandson, noted architect Dirk Lohan, to consult on building and pedestrian plaza design with project architects BNIMMiesblock The Des Moines Register.

Having received high praise from the City of Des Moines Urban Design Review Board at its preliminary review, Miesblock has garnered recent press in The Des Moines Register and Business Record. Look for more project updates as this project continues to unfold.

Nelson Senior Living Community Highlighted in Omaha World Herald

Nelson is eager to expand into the growing residential area of La Vista, Nebraska with a modern senior living community. The newly announced senior living project was featured in the Omaha World Herald and outlined some of its unique elements and amenities that will cater to a new generation of senior residents. Adding the La Vista Senior Living community to its existing portfolio of historic projects in Omaha, Nelson is excited to continue its work in the great cities of Nebraska and become a member of the La Vista community.


Partnership Building Build-Out Timelapse

After the devastating Younkers Building fire ravaged the structure next door, the Greater Des Moines Partnership offices were damaged to the point of needing a remodel. Slingshot Architecture and Nelson Construction & Development were hired by the owners of the building, Lawmark Capital, to create an office space that incorporated the latest research and findings in workspace design. This new space features stand-up desks that raise and lower, Iowa-sourced hickory wood, local artwork, and many other custom touches. We are proud to have worked with an exceptional design team, ownership team, and a world-class client that is promoting economic development of our region in such innovative, effective ways.

Video Credit: Studio Iowa

Bloomberg Features Des Moines Micro-Apartments

Micro-apartments and the thoughtful design of smaller living spaces has influenced the multifamily housing market in bigger cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Portland. Bloomberg’s Patrick Clark decided to take a look at how this trend is playing out in secondary markets like Des Moines. The perceptions of those on the coasts is that midwestern cities are spread out and have no lack of space that would encourage an emphasis on efficient apartment design. This article combats that perception by featuring projects by local Des Moines developers Nelson Construction & Development and Hubbell Realty. This is a nice followup to Mike Nelson’s TEDxDesMoines talk on the subject.

Mike Nelson Profiled in Iowa Architect Magazine

Iowa Architect Magazine 2014The Fall 2014 edition of Iowa Architect Magazine features a host of interesting projects, stories, and insights. We are proud to have had Mike Nelson profiled in the issue’s “person of interest” section, penned by Hannah Gilman. Nelson goes in-depth about his career in the construction industry, his development paradigm, and his inspirations throughout his career. The article can be read on page 10 of Iowa Architect Magazine’s “virtual edition” here.

Danny Heggen Featured in the Business Record

Danny Heggen Business Record 2014.07.25Our new development project manager is quickly making an impact on our projects and the community is taking note. Kent Darr profiled Danny Heggen in the most recent issue of the Business Record and explored how his creative past influences his added value in the construction and development industry. We’re excited to have Danny be a valued member of our team and we hope you will reach out and get to know this bright young talent.

Nelson Featured in Business Record

Business Record 2014.06.27Our unique approach at Nelson Construction & Development is detailed in the latest issue of Des Moines’ Business Record. Kent Darr reported on some of our upcoming projects and highlighted our outlook and mindset when approaching real estate deals. Each real estate project has a slew of decisions and actions involved, our firm has a team equipped to handle those disparate parts and reach the successful vision you have for your project. Read more here.

Downtown Des Moines Apartment Demand Surging

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 11.42.02 PMConstruction activity in downtown Des Moines is setting records due to a huge demand for apartment living. The Des Moines Register recently took a look at some of the projects slated to open in the next year to get a flavor for this development. The Des Moines Building, our latest historic renovation project, was featured  through interview feedback and a nice selection of photos, here.

$800mm Downtown Des Moines Makeover

DM Register Downtown Des Moines $800mm MakeoverDowntown Des Moines is experiencing an urban renaissance from the core outward. Looking ahead at 2014, there are a handful of projects set to make a transformative impact on the downtown area. The Des Moines Register looks at many of these projects, totaling $800mm, and gathers thoughts from local experts and leaders on why we are in such a growth phase here. Nelson Construction & Development is proud to be contributing to this transformation with the renovation of the Des Moines Building at Sixth and Locust.

Nelson Pour-Over Coffee Event

We had a great time hosting clients, colleagues, and friends at our morning coffee event last week. The artisans at Curgo Coffee selected two of the best roasted coffees in the country and served them using two distinct pour-over methods while educating us about the nuances in coffee.

There wasn’t a program or agenda, we were able to just reconnect with 80+ friends and take some time to connect outside of the “business” of everyday work. As we push forward into 2014, we’re finding that we do our best, most innovative work when we can keep in touch with colleagues and take time out to stop and think for a bit.

We’ve posted a few pictures here, but check out Curgo’s Facebook page for even more shots of the fun time.14.01.31_Curgo-3314.01.31_Curgo-3114.01.31_Curgo-11

Fleming Descendants Visit Nelson Construction & Development

flemingfamilymeetingsmallWe were honored, yesterday, to host the family of the original Fleming Brothers that commissioned the building of the Fleming Building in downtown Des Moines. Robert Fleming reached out to us and coordinated a gathering of some of his family to reminisce about the building’s past, share stories about the brothers who commissioned the building, and tour the renovation that breathed new life into the structure. The Fleming Brothers were a colorful group of men who were the only Hartford insurance salesmen west of the Mississippi, eventually commissioning Daniel Burnham to build the Fleming Building in downtown Des Moines. We are continuing to research just how the brothers were put in contact with Burnham to architect the structure, but we’re thankful to have learned so many stories from the family.


Omaha Federal Building Opening

Omaha Federal Building OpeningToday’s ribbon-cutting marks the culmination of tremendous hard work and energy spent in breathing new life into the Omaha Federal Building.

Nelson Construction & Development joined First Hospitality Group to transform the landmark Old Federal Building in Omaha into a stunning 152-room Residence Inn by Marriott. The building at the southwest corner of 15th and Dodge Streets was erected in 1933 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, and designed by the renowned architects Thomas R. Kimball and George B. Prinz.

This $23 million project retains the architectural elements of the 120,000-square-foot, 12-story Stripped Classical/Art Deco structure. Period details that include terrazzo tile floors, wooden railings, and marble features are being preserved. The building’s historical significance – it was home to federal branches including the Army Corps of Engineers, District Court and FBI – is highlighted with the three vault doors that create a focal point in the main commons area and hearth room.

Guests in the extended-stay style accommodations enjoy modern furnishings and amenities, including full kitchens, a fitness room and game center. A patio on the building’s north side features a fire pit overlooking the First National Bank sculpture park. The 1,000-square-foot penthouse boasts panoramic views of Omaha. Nearly 2,000 square feet of meeting space are included in the plans.

Omaha Federal Building’s Transformation Nearing Completion

Omaha Federal Building ArticleThe Omaha Federal Building in Omaha, Nebraska is about to begin its new life as a Marriott Residence Inn. Nelson Construction and Development is nearing completion on this 152-room hotel that was the former office building for federal branches like the Secret Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and District Court. The Omaha World Herald goes on to detail many historic details, as well as the new amenities, in today’s newspaper article. The team at Nelson Construction and Development look forward to the completion of this project and the prosperous future ahead for this historic landmark.

Ribbon Cutting for Baker Creek Senior Living

Baker Creek Senior Living Ribbon CuttingNelson Construction was pleased today to take part in the ribbon cutting for the Baker Creek Senior Living community. This project brought together a truly professional and talented team of developers, architects, and stakeholders like Anawim Housing, MHEG, and the Baker Group to produce modern, safe, and affordable senior housing on the east side of Des Moines. This senior housing development is ready for its first tenants to move in to its 33 two-bedroom apartments on September 1st.

Fleming Building Reaches Full Occupancy

Fleming BuildingThe Fleming Building celebrated a milestone on July 18th.  In less than two months since opening the doors for apartment rentals, the Fleming Building is 100% leased.  The building offers market-rate apartment rentals ranging from studio units that have the most great room space in the city to spacious two-bedroom units with spectacular urban views.

The Fleming Building, located at 218 Sixth Avenue, is in the heart of the downtown. Built in 1909, the 11-story structure was designed by Daniel Burnham, a world-renowned American architect of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Owners Mike Nelson and BJ Baker, with the help of Nelson Construction & Development, have transformed a historic, century-old downtown office building into a revitalized mixed-use structure that will add 5,000 square-feet of retail space on Walnut Street and 95 residential units to downtown Des Moines. The project will benefit the metro area as a whole, but will be especially helpful in strengthening the downtown, an important plus for Des Moines because a strong downtown is essential to the success of any community.

Fleming Building Now Open

Fleming BuildingThe Fleming Building has completed construction and is now open for residential and commercial tenants to begin moving in. The market-rate apartments are nearing full occupancy and the second floor has been leased for office use.

Owners Mike Nelson and BJ Baker, with the help of Nelson Construction & Development, have transformed a historic, century-old downtown office building into a revitalized mixed-use structure that will add 5,000 square-feet of retail space on Walnut Street and 95 residential units to downtown Des Moines. The project will benefit the metro area as a whole, but will be especially helpful in strengthening the downtown core, of great importance for Des Moines because a strong downtown is essential to the success of any community.


Zombie Burger

In the middle of the East Village, zombies have been spotted. Orchestrate Management brings a creative twist to burgers, fries, and sides that will make you want to stay well into the night.  At East 4th and Grand Avenue, come grab something to-go or sit and enjoy the best burger in town. What is behind that chain link fence on the ceiling?

Des Moines Building

Nelson Development and Foutch Brothers are redeveloping the Des Moines Building, one of our city’s most prominent historical office buildings, into 136 apartments with additional office, retail, and restaurant space. Unique features of the building, when complete, will include an adjacent pocket park, ground-level access to the city skywalk system, and a 360 degree roof deck for use by the residents and public. In the heart of the newly acclaimed “Silicon Sixth Avenue”, the Des Moines Building looks to be the next addition to a street under transformation and a city on the move.

Mike Nelson Speaks at COSC Luncheon

September 8, 2011 – The Center on Sustainable Communities held a luncheon today to discuss sustainable commercial development. It was our pleasure to have Mike Nelson, President of Nelson Construction, speak on the insights gained from working on numerous downtown revitalization projects and the changing nature of commercial development. The event was well attended and also included a great presentation from Larry James Jr. of Hogan Law Office, discussing legal issues involved in the use of historic tax credits. The audience had a great list of questions and we want to thank COSC and the Greater Des Moines Partnership for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of this event.

Des Moines Building History

July 16, 2011 – David Elbert of the Des Moines Register wrote a great piece today about the history and future plans of the Des Moines Building in downtown Des Moines. Nelson Foutch Development has the honor and privilege of converting this 14-story building into future residential and commercial units. Read the article here.

Nelson Chosen to Redevelop Historic Des Moines Building

July 12, 2011  – We are excited to announce that the City Council of Des Moines has agreed to sell Nelson Foutch Joint Ventures the historic Des Moines Building at 405 Sixth Avenue, in downtown Des Moines. This building is a key piece of downtown Des Moines’ redevelopment and will simultaneously increase the number of urban rental units while decreasing vacant office space inventory. Further details are included in the Des Moines Register’s summary of the project.

Plans for the building include 145 market-rate apartment units, two floors of commercial space, and creation of a “pocket park” to highlight a new restaurant and outdoor projection and sculpture area (pictured at left).

Nelson Foutch Development is honored to have been selected by the City Council of Des Moines to breathe new life into this great structure. We would also like to thank City staff and all those involved in the proposal process for their time and effort.

Be sure to visit our site again for update renderings, project developments, and news regarding this project.

City of Des Moines Recognizes Nelson Development

June 24, 2011 – The Des Moines Business Record reported this week that the City of Des Moines has recognized Nelson Development for their work in historic preservation of the Hawkeye Transfer Building. Nelson Construction is proud of the work involved in transforming the warehouse into a modern loft building known as AP Lofts. We are very grateful to all those that supported us in this project and look forward to contributing to future projects in downtown Des Moines’ renaissance.

Zombie Burger Nearing Completion at e300

May 20, 2011 – Zombie Burger, the newest restaurant concept from Orchestrate Management, is nearing completion. The project is being built by Nelson Construction and is located in another Nelson Construction project, e300 Grand apartments. WHO TV covered the progress of the space and has a great write-up about the new concept that mixes gourmet burgers and classic zombie films.

AP Lofts in Business Record

May 6, 2011 – Mike Nelson, of Nelson Construction, was featured in the Business Record publication today, regarding the success of the AP Lofts’ “Live/Work Contest” and the move-in of the first commercial tenant to the space. AP Lofts was built by Nelson Construction and is a shining example of historic re-use in the City of Des Moines.


Hyatt Place Grand Opening

April 7, 2011 – Nelson Construction was excited to unveil Des Moines’ first Hyatt Place last night. The gala, with a 1920’s theme, was well attended by Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, and other local business and community leaders. Guests enjoyed entertainment throughout the night with food and refreshments. We are excited to see this hotel grow in downtown Des Moines.

AP Lofts in Des Moines Homestyle

March 30, 2011 – The April 2011 issue of Des Moines Homestyle magazine features a great article titled “Big Ideas“ and features AP Lofts, a Nelson Construction project. Kelly Roberson writes that it is best to focus on maximizing the space you have in your kitchen and she features the design elements from AP Lofts as an example of great style and function. Roberson goes on to talk about how storage, colors, textures, and lighting were integral in the architect’s design of the spaces and should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when designing their kitchen. Be on the lookout for this issue on local newsstands and check out the article here.

City of Des Moines Development Award

December 6, 2010 – Nelson Development is pleased to have recently received an “excellence in historic preservation award” from the City of Des Moines. This award was given for the outstanding job in “adaptive reuse” for the former Hawkeye Transfer Building. We are very grateful to the City of Des Moines for their recognition and are delighted to be a part of the urban renaissance in downtown Des Moines.