Historic Perry buildings in limbo after death of Des Moines architect

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Architect Kirk Blunck, right, was found dead Sunday in his Des Moines office. He was a partner with Stephen Knowles, left, in the Knowles-Blunck Architecture firm.

The future is murkier for the Citizens State Bank Building and Dillenbeck Building in downtown Perry following the sudden death Sunday of architect Kirk Blunck. Restoration of the historic downtown buildings has been stalled for more than a year.
The future is murkier for the Citizens State Bank Building and Dillenbeck Building in downtown Perry following the sudden death Sunday of architect Kirk Blunck. Restoration of the historic downtown buildings has been stalled for more than a year.

The death Sunday of Des Moines architect and developer Kirk Blunck deepens the uncertainty over the future of two historic buildings in the downtown Perry cultural district.

Blunck, 62, was found dead Sunday afternoon in his office in Des Moines’ East Village, an area he did much to renovate and rehabilitate in recent years.

An autopsy was performed today, according to reports.

Lauded for his architectural acumen and ability to leverage federal and state historic preservation tax credits and other funding sources in order to finance his projects, Blunck was overseeing a variety of ongoing works in Des Moines and around Iowa at the time of his death.

In Perry, the Dillenbeck Building at 1124 Second St. and the Citizens State Bank Building at 1126 Second St. were two Blunck projects showing promise.

Haaland Financial Services operated out of the Citizens State Bank Building until last year, when the pace of renovations slowed and then stopped, and the company moved its offices to 902 First Ave. in Perry.

The Dillenbeck Building was used as a venue for Art on the Prairie exhibitors in 2013 and 2014 but was not among the art spaces in the 2015 festival, which draws thousands of art-loving tourists to Perry’s downtown cultural district.

Blunck was a partner in the Knowles-Blunck Architecture firm. His partner in the firm, Stephen Knowles, has indicated Blunck’s projects will need to be sorted out in the wake of his sudden death.

 

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