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  1. #1
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    Question about Downtown DSM

    I am not from the DSM area originally and since moving to Ankeny 6 years ago, have spent very little time in downtown DSM.
    I was down there for lunch today with a client and walked through the skywalks a little. Has there always been that much empty commercial/retail space in the downtown area?
    It seemed like every store front was empty.
    Was there a time when all that was full or was it overdeveloped?


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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    I'd say that the past few years have really killed off many of the stores.



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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    I have worked on/off in downtown Des Moines. Retail space in the skywalks has declined to the point of non-existence. I think Younker's pulling out was the doomsday sentence for any "real" retail business down there. On the brighter side...Court Avenue is rocking and overall the whole downtown is a much and cleaner place than it used to be.



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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    Quote Originally Posted by LamaLooper View Post
    I have worked on/off in downtown Des Moines. Retail space in the skywalks has declined to the point of non-existence. I think Younker's pulling out was the doomsday sentence for any "real" retail business down there. On the brighter side...Court Avenue is rocking and overall the whole downtown is a much and cleaner place than it used to be.
    +1

    Downtown DSM is actually a pretty decent place. There's a lot more going on there then you would think.



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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    The skywalk is stuck in the 80's. Until it gets a makeover and viable/visable connections to street level entrances the system is doomed to fail IMO. It is very nice during the winter months though.

    The traditional "core" of downtown is taking a pounding with Wellmark heading to the gateway and a number of outdated office spaces. I think a new Hotel to connect WFA and the rest of downtown would be a tremendous addition.

    Overall the downtown redevelopment we've seen in the past 2-5 years has been phenomenal though. I actually lived downtown last year and would never have considered it 5 years ago.



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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    The skywalks are sort of outdated, I would say. Malls in general are sort of on the decline, and the skywalk (which was barely a mall in the first place) is no exception.

    A little redevelopment would be great in the next few years, but I wouldn't trade what's happened in the court ave. area for the skywalks at all.

    They are great in terms of utility, though.


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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    I work in Downtown Des Moines. I think what you wanted to say was that Retail in the skywalks is doom to fail. The actual skywalks while outdated are great in the winter time.



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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    Quote Originally Posted by Knownothing View Post
    I work in Downtown Des Moines. I think what you wanted to say was that Retail in the skywalks is doom to fail. The actual skywalks while outdated are great in the winter time.
    Amen.
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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    I've only lived here for about a year, but as others have mentioned, the entertainment scene downtown has absolutely exploded recently, and I think that is huge. I would much rather have that than retail. I think people generally go to the burbs, or right in their neighborhoods for retail, and head downtown for fun. I think if downtown keeps a mix of corporate offices and strong entertainment options, it will be just fine...


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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    Parts of downtown Des Moines are thriving, but the skywalks aren't one of those parts. They're very utilitarian, and serve their purpose well. Retail in the skywalk has been bad for as long as I can remember, and it's gotten steadily worse.



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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    Minneapolis has a great version of our skywalk system and they were doing fine last time I was there, a couple of years ago.

    The question is, how much time do you have to shop when you are downtown for work? And how much would you shop on the weekends down there?


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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    For awhile a lot of the empty spots filled back up and I'd say just within the past year a lot of those same spots have closed up. Tough economy and the fact that a lot of your customers are during the lunch hours makes it a tough place to survive. I have always felt that if you started a food place you'd survive though. I'd bet a Jimmy Johns would do a TON of business downtown since Subway and Quiznos always have huge lines plus their sandwiches are more affordable.


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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    Did I really post this in the rivals forum? Oops.


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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    Quote Originally Posted by bufante View Post
    Minneapolis has a great version of our skywalk system and they were doing fine last time I was there, a couple of years ago.

    The question is, how much time do you have to shop when you are downtown for work? And how much would you shop on the weekends down there?
    I'd term it more like "Des Moines has a poor man's version of Minneapolis' Skywalk System".

    I will say that in Minneapolis Block E is struggling a lot right now. Also, you get to to almost every location in Downtown (minus the Metrodome) all via skywalk. There is also a Target, and awesome restaurants and dinner options.

    I just feel like all of the action in Downtown is Court Ave, and the skywalk is geared towards the working/lunch time crowd.

    In Minneapolis, the skywalk is tailored to the workers, people that live there, and the people from the burbs looking for something to do.

    Des Moines has a long way to go yet, but has had a lot of positives the past few years...



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    Re: Question about Downtown DSM

    i know that after the caucases, Newsweek(i think) said that downtown has really improved and becoming quite nice. it listed some restaurants to eat at, and i heard that those places were booked solid for about 6 months after that.



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