Renovating School Sparks Creativity and Innovation

Des Moines is reinventing and repurposing!

Schools are institutions that spark creativity and innovation. If plans come through, Franklin Junior High will embody both of those qualities. Jeff Young, owner of We Can Build It, has ideas to renovate the former Franklin Junior High School in a creative, innovative way — creating a mixed-use venue consisting of hotel rooms, office space, an eatery, and boutique bars. According to the Des Moines Register, Young’s “eclectic concept” includes converting the old classrooms into hotel rooms and offices and creating a restaurant out of the cafeteria. He also envisions using the gymnasiums for larger events or weddings.

The building, build in 1948, has been used as a public and private school, as well as a place of worship. The site was beautifully kept; and educating teens for years within its walls steeps the building in deep memories. Using the rich history and traditions of the building will add to the charm of the project.

While this is new and exciting for Des Moines, renovating schools is not a totally unique idea as Young is modeling the concept after historic renovations in the Pacific Northwest. Young plans to draw on the Pacific Northwest ideas as he strives to create “something that unites the people in the neighborhood.” Speaking with neighborhood associations, Young has been gathering input so neighborhoods feel invested and “take ownership.” As excitement builds, the neighborhood associations are “very optimistic that this area will become a unique place within [the] city.”

I’d love to talk more about the exciting, unique things happening in Des Moines. Feel free to contact me about how your commercial real estate development might fit into the Beaverdale, Merle Hay and Waveland Park neighborhoods.

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