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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Plans going before the Des Moines City Council include turning an empty downtown lot into expanded corporate offices and demolishing a nearby building to make room for a residential tower.

The City Council will consider a preliminary development agreement Monday with EMC Insurance Companies, the Des Moines Register reported . The agreement would give tax increment financing to EMC in exchange for a $24 million minimum investment.

EMC and Blackbird Investments announced in January that they planned to swap land downtown.

EMC would expand its headquarters at the former Younkers site, which Blackbird purchased in 2016 for $2.75 million. Blackbird in turn would demolish a portion of the Kaleidoscope, an aging mall and indoor food court owned by EMC, and build an $88 million skyscraper.

Blackbird would receive about $4.4 million in property tax rebates from the city, according to Carrie Kruse, economic development coordinator with the city.

The property swap would allow the two projects to better fit into their locations, Kruse said. The former Younkers site is located near mostly office buildings, while the Kaleidoscope is in an area that ha’s seeing more residential development.

The development of the two currently under-used properties would increase the city’s tax rolls, Kruse said. The Younkers store closed in 2005, and a massive 2014 fire forced crews to demolish part of the structure, leaving an empty parcel. The Kaleidoscope has been plagued with vacancies and maintenance issues in recent years.

Neither company has filed property deed transfers yet with the Polk County Recorder’s Office nor submitted final design plans with the city.


Information from: The Des Moines Register,