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A Chinese restaurant that was forced to close last year when a local development team took ownership of the Kaleidoscope at the Hub will reopen in downtown Des Moines this week.

Meanwhile, a target date for demolition of the now-vacant Kaleidoscope building has come and gone — with no updated schedule given to the city. 

Panda Chinese Food will open Thursday at 400 Locust St. Suite 235, in the former Amigos Mexican Restaurant (southwest side on the skywalk level of Capital Square). The menu will be expanded to include Korean items such as bulgogi, japchae, bibimbap and Korean braised pork ribs. 

It will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

► Want to keep up with everything that's opening and closing around the metro? Sign up for our new Openings and Closings Newsletter here

Owners Jongin and Pyongtu Chang closed their original restaurant in the Kaleidoscope food court last fall.

More than a dozen businesses have closed since Blackbird Investments announced plans to build a $100 million, 33-story apartment high-rise called 515 Tower in its place. U.S. Bank, the last tenant to leave, closed Feb. 22. 

Original plans by Blackbird called for demolition to start at the end of February. The Des Moines-based development company later filed a permit with the city that indicated work would start March 25. Demolition barriers have moved into the first floor.

Now the city is unsure of Blackbird's timeline for deconstruction, said Carrie Kruse, Des Moines' economic development coordinator. 

A development agreement between Des Moines and Blackbird has expired. It would have provided approximately $4.4 million in property tax rebates for the project — first proposed in 2016 at the former Younkers site.

The development agreement was transferred to 555 Walnut St. when Blackbird brought forward its plans for the newly-acquired site last fall.

Now a new agreement will need to be approved by the City Council. Blackbird has not indicated when they will present new plans to the city, Kruse said.

"They could come in next week or it could take a few months," she said. 

A Blackbird spokesperson did not return a call seeking comment. 

The development company owns the building so it could move forward with demolition without a signed agreement. But the team has indicated that won't happen, Kruse said.

►More: Iowa town upset that 'bombed out' hospital has gone untouched for 7 months

Councilman Joe Gatto said he is concerned about the ongoing delays, especially given Blackbird's stalled project in Ottumwa, where the company has left a partially demolished hospital standing for seven months. The standstill is a result of a dispute between Blackbird and the demolition contractor, though the company has said work should pick back up again this month. Blackbird has plans to build high-end homes and townhomes at the old St. Joseph Hospital site.

"That is my biggest fear, to be honest," Gatto said. "I don't want to see that happen, so I think we need to have a development agreement in place before we issue a demolition permit."

Blackbird purchased the mall nearly a year ago as part of a land swap with EMC Insurance Companies. EMC received the former Younkers site at the corner of Seventh and Walnut streets, which burned down five years ago.

►More: 5 years after the fire: What will become of the former Younkers site?

The Des Moines-based insurance company has indicated it plans to invest at least $24 million on a corporate expansion, but has not presented any formal plans. 

Original plans for Blackbird's 515 Tower call for 336 apartments in 340,000 square feet. Forty percent of the units will be reserved for lower-income renters making 60 percent or less of the area median income.

The top floor would have a gaming lounge, dining lounge, rooftop deck and cantilevered pool that hangs out over the street.

Construction was proposed to begin in July 2019 with a target opening in September 2021. Demolition should take about three months. 

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