A new development springing up near Drake University hopes to revitalize the area.
The 26 homes known as the Des Moines Greystones are all in different stages of construction.
They sit on 13 properties around MLK Parkway north of I-235.
"It's called infill housing, and it's kind of filling the holes in the neighborhood that have been vacant for a long time," says State Sen. Jack Hatch who's company, Hatch Development Group, is behind the Greystones.
They bought the land from individuals and the city to help revitalize the area.
"We will locate a project in an area of the city that other developers haven't looked at or are questionable," he says.
Des Moines' first murder of the year happened a block from one of the properties earlier this week. Even though the area doesn't have the best reputation, Hatch says families are already applying to get a key.
Hatch Development also recently built the MLK Brickstone. Those apartments were rented out before it even opened.
Hatch expects the same to happen with the Greystones which are set to all be ready for move-in by November.
"I think people will respond pretty well. We're pretty excited about it."
The homes are income restricted. For example, a family of four must make less than $32,000 a year to qualify.
One neighbor says they're glad to have more affordable housing close to downtown while another worries it could bring trouble.
Long-time neighbor Kelix Williams admits the area has had some problems and hopes since the homes are rent-to-own, they will attract good families.
"If they plan on coming in and taking care of their place and their neighborhood - I just want to live in a nice neighborhood and have nice people around," says Williams.
Since the Greystones are meant for families, they each have four bedrooms with about 2200 square feet. Of the residents in one home, three need to be related.