Fourth + Court brings urban living, shopping to downtown Des Moines

If you build it, they will come. They will also eat.

Fourth + Court, a multi-story mixed-use development anchored by a 35,000-square-foot, first-of-its-kind Hy-Vee grocery store, opened Feb. 28 to a cacophony of new sights, sounds, and smells in downtown Des Moines.

The OPN-designed development augments Des Moines’ downtown with sought-after market rate apartments and on-site parking, as well as the much-anticipated grocery store. Designed to serve downtown Des Moines’ growing population of 80,000 residents and 9,000 workers, Hy-Vee’s pilot project is a blend of the traditional model of groceries, fresh meats, produce and bakery with a diverse selection of prepared foods ranging from dine-in meals to take-out to chopped up and ready-to-cook ingredients for preparing at home. Hy-Vee hopes to replicate this urban downtown store in other cities such as Lincoln, Omaha and Kansas City.

The design team worked with the city to identify opportunities to connect the architecture with historical styles in a 21st century way. The brick exterior complements surrounding 100-year-old architecture, while a modern bank of large windows along Court Avenue connects the store with passersby. An outdoor patio, which will no doubt be filled in warmer months, adjacent to the Market Grille strengthens the link between the store and surrounding entertainment district.

The transparency of the first level is continued to the residential units with floor-to-ceiling windows offering dynamic views of the downtown from a mixture of 79 efficiency, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments, plus two penthouses. The units — which offer a mix of space and amenities, neutral finishes, exposed duct-work, and large windows — are roughly 50 percent occupied.

Fourth + Court is located between the historic Polk County Courthouse, which OPN is restoring inside and out, and the Polk County Justice Center, which recently reopened in a repurposed department store, which OPN also designed.