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Percy Hoak

Former elementary in Des Moines to be converted to apartments

Jan. 6, 2021
Percy Hoak Elementary was built in 1955 and was closed as a school in 1979.

A former elementary school in Des Moines that has been vacant for nearly a decade will be converted into affordable apartments for seniors

The Des Moines Register reports that Conlin Properties plans to reconfigure the Percy Hoak Elementary School into a 20-unit complex called Percy's Landing. It also has plans to create a mixed-use development with single-family homes and commercial space on the remainder of the nearly 8-acre property.

Hoak School opened at the site in 1955. A year after the school's opening, flight pattern changes at the Des Moines International Airport restricted it from expanding, according to a history of Des Moines Public Schools. Because of restrictions in enrollment, the school served as a "therapeutic learning center" for students with learning disabilities, according to the report.

The school closed in 1979, and the 18,000-square-foot building was sold to the Society of Italian Americans and served as the Stemma D' Italia lodge, where the Italian American Festival was held, until Conlin Properties purchased it in 2013.

The building's classrooms would be converted into two studio apartments, 13 one-bedroom apartments and five two-bedroom apartments. Rent will range from $459 to $1,100, with the average being $725.

Conlin Properties also plans a community room and a pocket park on the north side.

The developer also plans to build up to 54 small homes — each about 800 square feet — and a small commercial property on the land.

The 65-year-old school building needs major asbestos remediation at a cost of about $450,000, says Ryan Moffatt, economic development coordinator for the city.

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