Fourth + Court

Des Moines, Iowa

Fourth + Court, a multi-story mixed use development anchored by a 35,000-square-foot, first-of-its-kind Hy-Vee grocery store, constructs a contemporary cornerstone in the heart of Des Moines historic Court Avenue District.

The development augments Des Moines’ downtown with sought-after market rate apartments and on-site parking, as well as a much-anticipated grocery store. 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 adjacent to the Market Grille strengthens the link between the store and surrounding entertainment district.

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.

Four entrances — two on Court Avenue, one on Fifth Avenue, and one on the south side of the building – generate a strong corner presence at Court and Fifth avenues and lead customers from surface parking to the south. Elevated residential parking creates a new pedestrian link along the south edge of the property, connecting the urban street grid to the adjacent to the historic depot property. Pedestrian permeability and an emphasis on multi-modal transportation to the site — including biking — create natural synergies between strong sustainability principles and Hy-Vee’s health and wellness initiatives. A loading dock for Hy-Vee is screened to provide for necessary functions without sacrificing a strong urban edge at primary faces of the block.

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. A range of unit layouts offer a mix of space and amenities. White and grey finishes offer a neutral palette for residents. Exposed duct-work, white wall cabinets paired with dark horizontal grain bases in the kitchen, and large windows lend an open, airy sense to each apartment.

Balconies on the north, east, and west face out the vibrant urban neighborhood, while southern exposure apartments overlook the rooftop patio. Interior corridors use the contemporary color combination of fuchsia, chartreuse, and aqua for way finding on walls and through carpet patterns that pull the eye down its length toward windows at each end. Linear lights installed on open ceilings repeat the rhythm of the flooring. Colors are repeated in a communal club room and amenity spaces the second and third floors with soft seating, televisions, and a kitchenette, on each floor. The fourth floor features a fitness facility.

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