Sunnyside Apartments

Pull Back

The 2nd floor of this century-old building had not been occupied for 20 years + the exterior envelope had not been maintained, leading The Des Moines Register to call it one of the ugliest buildings in town. The city + Parks Area Foundation jointly funded the rehabilitation of this historic building in the Highland Park neighborhood. We supplemented the work + research that had already been started by city staff + neighborhood association members.


Our integrated work process readily handled historic tax credit requirements + addressed health + life-safety issues with city building departments — all on a feasible schedule we outlined. We worked with the client-provided contractor to meet the tight construction budget. Throughout, we balanced historic preservation guidelines with the realities of a severely dilapidated building.


We brought back the original street-level façade, which not only makes the Aqualand Pets Plus Store more approachable but immediately reduced energy consumption. The 2nd-floor apartments were quickly rented. Overall, the project put a historic building back into full service, pleasing Highland Park neighborhood residents, foundation leaders + city officials.

  • "Greg Wattier and his project Architect, John Bloom, quickly took charge of the design work and co-coordinating with our construction manager in identifying the critical issues. A truly valuable part of their work was their knowledge of historic preservation guidelines and excellent ability to work with City staff and the SHPO office. Working with ge Wattier [Slingshot] has been a fine experience, and I recommend the firm with no reservations."
    Ken Boatwright, President, Parks Area Foundation