Client:  City of Des Moines (IA)

The City of Des Moines retained Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) to refine and update its neighborhood indicators data and methodology and to develop new commercial supply-demand indicators for neighborhoods of the City.

GG+A gathered the necessary data and developed a parcel-level GIS database that included 2015/2016 data pertaining to: housing unit inventory; housing characteristics (e.g., living area, year built, number of bedrooms and bathrooms); property conditions; homestead exemptions; assessed market values; home sales; foreclosure activity; public nuisances and code violations; and vacant properties. GG+A aggregated the parcel-level data into 52 defined neighborhoods of the City and prepared a series of maps and tables depicting how conditions have changed over time and how current conditions vary by neighborhood. An alternative methodology for scoring and categorizing neighborhoods into four categories (Stable, Transitional Positive, Transitional Negative, and Distressed) was also prepared using 12 variables for each neighborhood that were assigned equal scoring weights; ranging from the 5-year change in average sale price per square foot to the number of properties vacant for longer than 90 days.

A second component of the indicators analysis involved the preparation of supply and demand factors applicable to different parts of the City. GG+A first developed a comprehensive parcel-level inventory of commercial space that identified occupancy class (i.e., type of commercial use), land area, gross and net building space, age, physical condition, and assessed market value. The parcel database was used to prepare a series of summary tables and maps depicting the commercial building space inventory by neighborhood and indicators of performance and competitiveness such as value, age, and condition. A series of “demand side” indicators were also prepared by neighborhood (which included population, households, average household income, etc.) drew upon American Community Survey data at the Census Tract and Block Group levels. This data was used to estimate the on-the-ground retail space demands supported by the populations of each neighborhood, drawing upon average Consumer Expenditure Survey data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. GG+A prepared summary tables and maps depicting the estimated current balance between commercial/retail space supply and demand by neighborhood. The resulting estimates provided a framework from which to identify the retailing agglomerations and corridors within the City that have community- or regional-serving trade areas, and conversely, the neighborhoods that experience leakage or have less retail space supply than neighborhoods households are capable of supporting.

GG+A prepared a final “flip book” of detailed maps and tables summarizing the results the indicators analysis by neighborhood.