Street-level space in a building under construction at 304 Fifth St. in West Des Moines’ Valley Junction will include a restaurant and DSM Culinary. Architectural rendering by Pelds Design Services Photo below: A view of the street-level space that tenants will occupy. Photo by Kathy A. Bolten

Street-level space of a building under construction in West Des Moines’ Valley Junction will be occupied by a restaurant operated by Ryan Cooper and by DSM Culinary, which offers a variety of cooking classes to the public.

Both have received grants from a city of West Des Moines program supporting commercial redevelopment in Valley Junction.

A mixed-use project being built at 304 Fifth St. will include 13,617-square-feet commercial, office and residential space. The three-story structure is Iowa’s second mass timber development and the first one to include a residential component, said Scott Cutler, the project’s developer.

Cooper, whose new restaurant will offer steaks, pasta dishes and pizza, said the mass timber building “is getting a lot of attention and recognition” because of the materials being used to construct it.

“The space is gorgeous,” he said. “I kind of half joke that I wanted to take that space as much to get it for myself as to not let someone else have it … because it’s such a very attractive spot.”

Cooper, who owns and operates Cooper’s on 5th and Winchester Public House, both along Valley Junction’s Fifth Street, said the yet-to-be named new restaurant “will have a slight Italian vibe to it.”

Cutler owns the buildings Cooper’s other two Valley Junction businesses are located in. “When [Cutler] showed me the building, everything just clicked,” said Cooper, who was awarded $37,500 from the West Des Moines grant program.

Cooper, who has partners in the new business venture, said he expects the restaurant to open in mid-2023.

Cass Spence currently operates DSM Culinary out of space in Des Moines’ East Village. She said she had been looking for a new place in which to operate her business for the past three years.

“This opportunity came up. … When I got the opportunity to walk through the building, I was really impressed with it,” Spence said. DSM Culinary was awarded $16,402 from the West Des Moines program.

Spence said she hopes to begin offering culinary classes in the new space later this year or in early 2023. In addition to the classes, Spence makes and sells dumplings.

To learn more about Scott and Molly Cutler, managers of Cutler Development, click here.

To learn more about the mass timber project under construction at 304 Fifth St., click