Iowa cities, counties now can tear down vacant state-owned buildings with aid from new grant, loan

Debi Durham
Debi Durham

Two new funds have become available to cities or counties seeking to tear down or redevelop vacant state-owned buildings or properties.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority announced Wednesday it has allocated $6 million between two funds for fiscal years 2020 through 2022, geared toward returning derelict structures to productive economic use.

The vacant state building demolition fund, will provide up to $1 million in grants per fiscal year, for a $3 million total, while the vacant state building rehabilitation fund offers the same potential funds per fiscal year in loans.

The agency could forgive those loans if the locality in question demonstrates accountability and timely results, and funds the majority of their project through other sources.

“There is at least one building in every community that needs addressed,” IEDA agency Director Debi Durham said. “It’s the one everybody discusses but doesn’t know what to do about.

“Now, if that building is state-owned, we have resources available to help communities explore growth, revitalization and development to help these buildings provide a community benefit once again.”

Cities and counties can apply separately for both a state grant and loan for the same project, which also can include one part of a larger project — though only if the locality assumes ownership of the entire campus.


Fiscal year 2020 applications will be accepted through Nov. 27 at, with recipients to be informed in December.

The IEDA will score applications on factors including evidence of project readiness and the city or county’s redevelopment plan.

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