98-room Hilton brand hotel coming to downtown Des Moines

A 98-room hotel planned for a burgeoning area on the southern edge of downtown Des Moines will be part of Hilton's newest brand launch and a first for central Iowa.

Tru by Hilton will be the second hotel in Gray's Landing, a 50-acre development that's also home to two apartment buildings and a child care center. The $15.5 million hotel is proposed for the southeast corner of Southwest Ninth and Tuttle streets.

The developer, Sherman Associates, will take the project in front of the city's Urban Design Review Board on Tuesday morning. Construction on the four-story building is expected to begin in 2020, with a target opening 12 months later.

The Tru by Hilton brand was launched more than two years ago, and has since opened 75 hotels in North America. It focuses on affordability and sustainability while offering a playful atmosphere, according to its website.

Each of Tru's lobbies has 2,880 square feet of public space for playing games, eating or working. Rooms are smaller than others in Hilton's portfolio, and the hotel offers a pool, fitness room and a 24/7 drink and snack bar.

"It's a vibrant, more affordable product appealing to the younger professionals who are attracted to Des Moines," said Ross Stiteley, senior developer for Sherman Associates.

This will be the second Tru by Hilton in Iowa. A Cedar Rapids location opened in February 2018.

The Gray's Landing development is located in the area generally between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, Southwest Ninth Street, Southwest 16th Street and Tuttle Street. The eastern portion is home to a Holiday Inn Express, The Nexus at Gray's Landing and The Edge at Gray's Landing apartments, and a New Horizons Academy child care center.

Sherman Associates is working on a second phase of construction, which includes the proposed Tru by Hilton, The Slate senior apartments, two market-rate apartment projects and a commercial pad site.

Sherman Associates has yet to break ground on The Slate senior apartments, originally scheduled for construction to begin this spring. Stiteley said he expects activity early next year.

The second phase also includes the completion of the Gray's Landing office building. The 72,000-square-foot office space will be built south of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway between Southwest Ninth and 11th streets. It will share a parking lot with the new hotel.

The entirety of Gray's Landing is expected to exceed $215 million. Sherman Associates has so far invested $75 million, according to city documents.

Des Moines is contributing about 10% of the project cost under a complicated economic development agreement, which includes tax increment financing and project-based grants.

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