Event marks beginning of work on Younkers Building

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A groundbreaking ceremony is planned to mark the beginning of work to transform a long-empty former department store in downtown Des Moines into housing and retail space.

The ceremony will be Tuesday afternoon at the Younkers Building, a 114-year-old landmark that has been vacant since the department store closed in 2005.

The Alexander Company of Madison, Wis., is overseeing the $36 million redevelopment of the building into 120 apartments as well as retail and office space.

Alexander Company officials as well as city and state leaders will join for the ceremony, though demolition work began on the building nearly a month ago.

Alexander Company is receiving about $15 million in state and federal historic tax credits for the project.

Work is expected to be completed in late 2014.

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