Four cities break records in 2019 as metro construction eclipses $2 billion
Four metro cities — Altoona, Ankeny, Clive and Waukee — set new records in 2019 for the value of building permits issued.
The four Des Moines suburbs issued permits for construction with combined value of $971.3 million. Housing drove most of the growth in three of those cities — Ankeny, Clive and Waukee — accounting for more than half (1,871) of the metro's 3,549 new units, including single-family homes, townhomes and apartments.
Overall, the Des Moines Register's review of building permits issued in Altoona, Ankeny, Clive, Des Moines, Johnston, Urbandale, West Des Moines and Waukee showed more than $2 billion in construction permits issued last year.
That represents a 16% increase from 2018, the Register found.
In addition to housing, several high-profile new businesses, office expansions and additions to Microsoft and Facebook data centers fueled growth.
Housing grew over 2018, with townhome popularity rising
Housing construction metro-wide grew year-over-year, following a steep decline in 2018. But it did not reach highs set in 2016 and 2017, according to the Greater Des Moines Homebuilders Association.
Housing accounted for $816.7 million in new construction valuation in the eight cities the Register surveyed. That does not include residential remodels or additions.
As in previous years, Ankeny led housing growth with 1,126 new units — nearly one third of the housing projects added in the eight metro cities — totaling $257 million in new construction. The city set a record with 936 acres platted, creating 1,254 new lots for future construction.
In Clive, more than half of its record-setting valuation was in single-family housing, with 111 permits pulled for new homes. That was the only form of housing for which Clive issued permits last year.
"We expect single-family home permits to be strong again in 2020 as the Shadow Creek neighborhood in the northwest part of the city keeps growing," said Pete De Kock, assistant city manager.
Waukee also had strong growth in housing, second only to Ankeny — the 10th-fastest-growing city in the U.S. The western suburb is not far behind, adding an estimated six new residents a day, said Community & Economic Development Director Dan Dutcher.
Waukee city officials predict the 2020 Census will show the city has 25,000 residents, nearly 2,200 more than the current estimate.
Townhomes in particular were popular around the Des Moines metro, with 443 units added in Waukee and 397 in Ankeny — totaling 80% of the metro's 1,055 new townhome units.
April Seydel, sales manager for Hubbell Homes, said townhomes are increasing in popularity as people look for a more affordable housing option with less maintenance. Townhomes are appealing to all types of buyers, including families, young couples and retirees, she said.
"They are all looking to live in a townhome primarily because they can forgo the ongoing maintenance that generally comes with purchasing a home and focus on fully experiencing the community they’re choosing to live in," Seydel said. "Whether that's downtown Des Moines or a surrounding suburb, they want to live in a convenient place that will allow for more time to do the things they want to do."
Data centers fueled explosive commercial growth
Commercial projects accounted for $1.1 billion of the new construction valuation.
In Waukee, residential growth has led to that city's highest-ever commercial permit valuation of $64.9 million — a nearly 63% increase from 2018's record of $39.9 million.
"Services such as grocery and retail stores, medical and dental offices, auto-related shops and more are showing up in Waukee to deliver needed services for new and existing citizens," Dutcher said.
The city will soon see its first hotel, a 77-room Sleep Inn at 2885 Grand Prairie Pkwy., and a 187,834-square-foot Fleet Farm store at the corner of Interstate Highway 80 and Grand Prairie Parkway.
The fifth building at a Facebook data center represented nearly $154 million in construction valuation in Altoona. Ankeny also saw substantial business investment with Casey's General Stores Inc.'s corporate headquarters expansion, new office buildings for Ruan Transportation Management Systems and an expansion of The Toro Company.
And in Clive, just one of its three commercial projects accounted for 94% of its total commercial valuation for the year: MercyOne Central Iowa's new Clive Behavioral Health facility, 1450 N.W. 114th St., which represents $30 million in permitted valuation.
Overall, West Des Moines led commercial development in the metro with $561.9 million in new valuation. It was the western suburb's second-best year; the city's record was set in 2016 when construction of a Microsoft data center propelled valuation above $1 billion.
"Microsoft played into it again," said Rod Van Genderen, chief building official. The company pulled permits for phases 9 and 10 of its data center project, totaling $160 million in new valuation.
Sammons Financial Group also started construction on its 200,000 square foot corporate headquarters near Jordan Creek Town Center, accounting for $45 million in new valuation.
A look at the numbers
Housing construction valuation by city
- Altoona — $54,129,632
- Ankeny — $257,000,000
- Clive — $39,675,830
- Des Moines — $112,274,741
- Johnston — $37,733,000
- Urbandale — $42,723,603
- Waukee — $137,539,399
- West Des Moines — $135,639,230
**Sources: City building permit data
Commercial construction valuation by city
- Altoona — $219,641,748
- Ankeny — $152,000,000
- Clive — $32,052,670
- Des Moines — $148,122,812
- Johnston — $6,811,920
- Urbandale — $52,994,182
- Waukee — $64,891,028
- West Des Moines — $329,587,062
**Sources: City building permit data
Your subscription makes work like this possible. Subscribe today at DesMoinesRegister.com/Deal.