Historic buildings that used to be part of Maytag’s campus in Newton will be renovated into a hotel and an apartment building.
The former Maytag campus was donated to Des Moines Area Community College in 2016 — nine years after Maytag closed. The college has sold nearly four acres to a Des Moines developer who plans to repurpose four buildings and open the hotel and apartments next year.
Kim Didier, the executive director of business resources for DMACC, says the two buildings that will become a boutique hotel have “The Maytag Company” written in large letters along the rooftops.
“Very iconic for the community and for Maytag over the years,” she says.
The two buildings were built in the early 1900s. Another building nearby, completed in 1914, will be converted into 70 apartments. “A brick building, exposed rafters, wooden floors — just very historic,” Didier says. “Kind of a warehouse, factory feel to it.”
A smaller building next door will have some amenities for the apartment dwellers. According to a DMACC news release, the hotel and apartment building project will cost about $35 million. DMACC will continue to have an academic center nearby.
“DMACC on the Newton campus has a baking program,” Didier says, “and we’re very hopeful we’ll be able to have that kind of collaboration and synergy where the baked goods that would be offered in the hotel restaurant or just as a cafe would be coming from our culinary program, our baking program.”
Didier, who used to work at Maytag, has lived in Newton for 24 years. She says there’s been a lot of collaboration in the community and the county to get this latest project going.
“It’s monumental and transformational,” Didier says, “and we think will continue to propel the redevelopment of the rest of the buildings that were part of the Maytag headquarters.”
A couple of other former Maytag buildings on what has been named “Legacy Plaza” already have been turned into commercial space. A brewery and a pub are among the 18 tenants. “We’ve had this vision of really creating this mixed use neighborhood that would have the residential component,” Didier says, “that would have the retail.”
Maytag was founded in 1893 and by the 1920s one of every five washing machines in America was made in Newton. The company was sold to Whirlpool in 2006 and a year later operations in Newton were shut down.
There were three previous owners of the emptied out Maytag campus until DMACC took over.
The State of Iowa is providing a $14 million “reinvestment district award” that will support the development of the apartments and hotel as well as several other related projects in Newton.