Des Moines building with two restaurants closed due to serious health hazards

By Scott Schaefer

Due to conditions “that constitute an immediate threat to human life, health, or safety,” the City of Des Moines has temporarily closed – or “yellow tagged” – the former Butler’s Garage building that houses Madi’s Steakhouse and Dana K’s Kafe at 22341 Marine View Drive South.

Both restaurants were closed on Friday, Mar. 8 until further notice.

NOTE: Entourage Salon & Spa, which is also located in this building, remains OPEN for business.

No one is permitted inside the two restaurant portions of the building “for any purpose other than to perform repairs under permit and with the prior approval of the building department,” the city said in a letter to tenants.

“City building officials have determined that because of these conditions, the building will be posted as unsafe to occupy at noon tomorrow, March 8, 2019, unless significant action is taken to remedy the condition by that time,” the city said in a letter. “At that time and until the building is determined again not to constitute a threat to human life, health, or safety, no one will be permitted in the building for any purpose other than to perform repairs to the building under permit and with the prior approval of the building department.”

The city determined that water intrusion – apparently originating from multiple locations in the Madi’s Restaurant space into the café space/subfloor immediately below – resulted in conditions that rendered both spaces unsafe to occupy.

After being notified that the building would be posted with a red tag to close it to any occupancy, the property manager did respond to the City within a short time, City of Des Moines Assistant City Attorney Matthew J. Hutchins told The Waterland Blog.

The building is owned by Gorgona LLC, and managed by Dave Poletti & Associates. We tried to reach Poletti for comment, but did not receive a response.

“Following a site visit to identify the issues of concern with the property, the property manager and his contractor committed to develop a plan of action to obtain the necessary permits and conduct repairs to remedy the issues the City identified,” Hutchins added. “Because of this commitment to begin quickly, the building was posted with a yellow tag, which will allow the work to begin as soon as the necessary permits are obtained.”

Most of the damage appears to be to Dana K’s Kafe, which is located below Madi’s. In the second photo below, you can see what appears to be water damage to the ceiling:

Photo courtesy Dana Kristeen Johnson-Hannon.

Photo courtesy Dana Kristeen Johnson-Hannon.

Photo courtesy Dana Kristeen Johnson-Hannon.

“Workers opened Dana K’s restaurant ceiling on Jan. 21, exposing mold, rot, soaked wood, and rodent droppings,” owner Dana Kristeen Johnson-Hannon told The Waterland Blog. “Mold analysis – on the restaurant’s initiative – was completed Feb. 28, identifying three types of mold, including black mold. According to past tenants, these building issues have been ongoing before we started our lease in 2015.”

Dana says that the landlord initially addressed the insect and water issues, but not the mold.

“Water issues through the ceiling occurred first in July 2018, August, September, and then in January,” she said. “Landlord agents did not enter and inspect our space until Feb. 21. Other tenants had and have other related issues, which have been ongoing before we started our lease in 2015.”

Dana cannot conduct her food service business until all these issues are addressed.

“I can’t lease or sell the restaurant space either,” she said. “More lost money.”

Mica Purcell, owner of Madi’s, says that the floor in the kitchen and subfloor needs to be replaced.

“I’m really upset by this whole thing,” Mica said, “and stressed out about when I’ll be able to re-open Madi’s. I’m hoping for less than a month, but am not sure. I know a lot about construction and permits, and it feels like a month would be very quick.”

She’s also not sure if her insurance will cover her losses.

“I’ll be happy to get a new floor, but closing is a huge bummer because business has been great,” she added.

As far as Madi’s goes, Mica adds that “you’d never know anything was wrong – all the problems are below us, including issues with the beams under our floor.”

The building is located at 22341 Marine View Drive South:


5 Responses to “Des Moines building with two restaurants closed due to serious health hazards”
  1. JM says:

    I’m really sad for both of these business owners and appalled at the property owner and their neglectful management.

    I’ve been into Dana’s many times (those sandwiches are spectacular!), but since I first went there about 11/2 years ago, it’s been clear there were water problems in the space- the smell of mold/mildew is prominent. Obviously, it hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the food there, but it’s terrible that these talented business owners are suffering from a lack of care on the part of the building owner.

    Here’s hoping for quick fixes and reopenings!

  2. kathleen selivanoff says:

    Just like the slum landlords, take the rent/lease money but don’t fix the problem.

  3. Linda L Jorza says:

    So sad, both restaurants are really good. I hope they get another place or can reopen soon.

  4. CJ says:

    So sorry for the owners and the closures. Please get out your leases and fine read everything. Always as a former landlord, it was up to me to make repairs and restitution for damages of the renter. Your adoring Des Moines will be back to see your!

  5. BirchCreek says:

    Sad news. I wonder, that if in the future, the city could hold landlords more responsible for these type of issues in their buildings? And in a required more timely manner?

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