Retail Development Begins Taking Shape in Des Moines

Village of Ponderosa project has plans for 16 commercial buildings, five now under construction


On the main level, the sidewalks will be extra wide to allow people to walk side-by-side. An overhang will protect people from the weather, and ground-floor windows will provide a built-in seat. Smaller neighborhoodtype lights will light the main street at night.

Near the Gateway Market will be a lakeside terrace large enough for a 300-person event and distinguished by a clock tower with an illuminated face. Seating with movable chairs and small tables will be available. The pedestrian bridge nearby is designed to be only 15 inches above the water with low handrails, bringing people closer to the water, Reynolds said.

Crescent Lake will provide a separation between the commercial and residential districts. An 1800s Englishstyle rose garden near building N also will provide a buffer between the two areas. BSB Design is working on 13 housing styles that will be used for the 513 housing units in the residential area.

In addition to landscaping, Ponderosa will feature public art from local, national and international artists, especially in an Art Lawn along one of the main entrances.

The community's design also incorporates some "green" building features, such as highly efficient heating and cooling system and bioretention swales thar collect rainwater. All commercial and retail buildings will be nonsmoking.

Designing the Village area, Reynolds said, has been a balance between quality and cost.

"From a construction standpoint, you have to be real smart with your dollars and spending a lot of money on [the outside of the building to enclose] a smaller volume, so we've tried to be very efficient in how we design [the exterior] and how we design interiors to minimize the amount of space we use."

Having sets of similar-looking buildings (D, F and G as well as A, C and I), helps maximize resources, Reynolds said.

For the entire village concept, Reynolds said the team looked at similar places across the country that have been successful, such as Country Club Plaza in Kansas City and the Village of Riverside in Illinois.

"They have continued to far outperform in terms of quality of life and in terms of the investment for what they provide," Reynolds said.