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Hubbell Building Named to National Register of Historic Places

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (November 8, 2004) The National Park Service recently announced that the Hubbell Building, at 904 Walnut Street in Des Moines, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hubbell Realty Company will accept the presentation of the official certificate at a recognition ceremony to be held in Des Moines in May 2005. According to the National Registry nomination, the Hubbell Building was completed and first occupied in 1913 and is locally significant due to its association with commerce, particularly the Hubbell family and its business interests during the years of 1913 to 1954. These businesses included the Hubbell and Company in 1885; F.M. Hubbell, Son, & Company, Inc., a real estate firm established in 1899; a trust known as the Frederick M. Hubbell Estate, established in 1903 to administer many of the family businesses; the Hubbell Realty Company, established in 1913 to manage the Hubbell Building; and more than a dozen other corporate entities. These business interests continued as a driving force in central Iowa long after the death of F.M. Hubbell, the founder of the family fortune, in large part because of the business acumen of his sons, F.C. Hubbell, G.C. Hubbell, the extended members of the Hubbell Family, and the Frederick M. Hubbell Estate, a legal instrument that protected the fortune from dispersion. The second floor of the Hubbell Building headquartered these many interests, while the remainder of the building was leased. The Hubbell Building became the center for the corporate offices for central Iowa's building industry, housing firms such as the Proudfoot, Bird & Rawson, the architectural firm that designed the Hubbell Building. “Not only is this building significant due to the history inside the building, but also for its architectural design,” states William C. Page, the public historian who prepared the nomination. “The Hubbell Building was one of the earliest skyscrapers to appear on the Des Moines skyline and among the first in Iowa designed by an Iowa firm.” The designation on the National Register of Historic Places will afford additional tax credits towards the renovation of the Hubbell Building. Keith Denner, owner of Sun Prairie Apartments, will purchase the building from Hubbell Realty Company. Floors 2-10 (excluding the Skywalk area) will be renovated into a 73-unit affordable housing project with the street level remaining as commercial space. The renovation will conform to the Secretary of the Interior's standards to preserve the historic design of the building.

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