Two ambitious Des Moines-area projects are competing for funding through the Iowa Reinvestment Act program. On the left is a rendering of a professional soccer stadium proposed for an area southwest of downtown Des Moines. On the right is a rendering of a multiuse stadium proposed in former department store space at Merle Hay Mall, which straddles Urbandale and Des Moines' city boundaries. Renderings provided to the Business Record.

Backers of six redevelopment proposals vying to use state tax revenue to pay for part of the projects have been selected to give presentations about their plans to the Iowa Economic Development Authority board, the board learned today.

Applications for 10 proposed projects had been submitted for consideration for the state’s Iowa Reinvestment Act program. An evaluation committee pared the number of applications to six using a set of criteria that included uniqueness, economic impact, project feasibility and readiness for development.

Supporters of projects located in Des Moines, Urbandale/Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Ames, Newton and Fort Dodge will give a presentation about their redevelopment proposals to the board on April 30, according to a spokesperson for the state agency.

“We are eager to discuss in detail the unique benefits of the Merle Hay Mall and Des Moines Buccaneers project not just for Urbandale and Des Moines, but for all of the region and state,” Curtis Brown, Urbandale’s assistant city manager and director of economic development, told the Business Record. The Urbandale/Des Moines project includes converting a former Merle Hay Mall department store into a multiuse arena.

The reinvestment program "is an excellent opportunity to advance projects across the state that position Iowa competitively for workforce retention and attraction,” Brown added.

Capital budgets for the six proposed developments total $943.7 million.

The communities, in their applications, requested a total of $151.6 million in new tax revenue from the state. However, just $100 million is available. The state program allows communities to use new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenue generated by new developments to be reinvested in the area in which the development is located.

The IEDA board is expected to make its decision on which projects will receive funding by May or June, an agency spokesperson has said.

Proposed projects from West Des Moines, Norwalk, Johnston and Dyersville did not make it to the next round of consideration.

Norwalk’s proposal included development of a recreation, sports and cultural district. Johnston’s proposal included development of a recreation area along Merle Hay Road. Dyersville’s proposal included transforming the site where “Field of Dreams” was filmed into an area that would include an indoor training facility, 12 fields for youth teams and a stadium at which Major League Baseball teams could complete.   

West Des Moines’ proposal involved redevelopment of Valley West Mall.

“While we are disappointed about not being selected for the next round, we understood going into the process that it was going to be a very competitive process,” Clyde Evans, West Des Moines’ director of community and economic development, wrote in an email. “Not having state assistance just means that it may take a little longer to redevelop the site, but we strongly feel that because of the excellent location of the Valley West Mall site that the redevelopment of the site ultimately will be successful.”

Valley West Mall officials could not be reached for comment. However, a spokesperson for the mall previously told the Business Record that redevelopment of the site would move forward regardless of whether the project was awarded state money.

The following are highlights from the six projects seeking funding through the state’s Iowa Reinvestment Act program:

Merle Hay Campus reinvestment proposal
Size: 74.6 acres, straddling Des Moines and Urbandale
Location: Merle Hay Road and Douglas Avenue
Total investment: $128.6 million
Amount requesting from Iowa Reinvestment District Program: $30 million
Project highlights: Development of a 3,500-seat multiuse arena and training center in the former Younkers department store site and current Kohl’s department store building. The facility would be home to the Des Moines Buccaneers hockey team. The arena would include three additional sheets of ice for competition, training and recreation. Construction would be completed by December 2023. In addition, a multistory hotel would be attached to the arena and training center.
Read more: Merle Hay Mall to become home of Buccaneers hockey team

Des Moines reinvestment proposal
Size: 71.7 acres
Locations: Former Dico 200 S.W. 16th St.; an area between Grand Avenue and High Street and Fifteenth and Seventeenth streets; and an area between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and Tuttle Street and east of Southwest Ninth Street.
Total investment: $276.7 million, not including office and residential projects. If those developments were included, the total investment would be an estimated $540 million. An investment totaling $209.1 million includes the stadium, Global Plaza and other projects; investments totaling $67.6 million include 14 mixed-use projects that range in size from one to five stories.
Amount requesting from Iowa Reinvestment District Program: $27.1 million
Project highlights: Construction of a 6,300-seat multiuse outdoor stadium with three practice fields. The stadium, which would be owned by a nonprofit group, would be home to a professional soccer team. Construction of a 150-room, eight-story stadium hotel south of the stadium on the Dico site. The hotel would include a rooftop bar and view deck.
Read more: Details of $535 million proposed soccer stadium project revealed

Fort Dodge reinvestment proposal

Size: 35 acres
Location: North of U.S. Highway 20 on the east side of Fort Dodge
Total investment: $86.1 million
Amount requesting from Iowa Reinvestment District Program: $18 million
Project highlights: Redevelopment of the Crossroads Mall site that would include razing a portion of the mall and adding smaller retail buildings, restaurants, a medical office building, mixed-use buildings that would include apartments, a hotel with meeting space, indoor and outdoor entertainment space, and a multiuse pavilion. The center of the plaza would include about 10,000 square feet of green space.
Read more: Fort Dodge seeking aid from state funding program for mall redevelopment project

Ames reinvestment proposal
Size: 73.5 acres
Location: Downtown Ames and Lincoln Way Corridor
Total investment: $154 million
Amount requesting from Iowa Reinvestment District Program: $21.5 million
Project highlights: Development of an Indoor Aquatics Center on a 3-acre site currently used as parking and office space for the Iowa Department of Transportation. Construction of a 136-room, full-service hotel with conference space along the Lincoln Way corridor. Other proposed developments would include apartments, retail and office buildings with ground-level retail.

Newton reinvestment proposal  
Size: 75 acres
Location: Downtown Newton and area between downtown and Des Moines Area Community College’s campus
Total investment: $44.6 million
Amount requesting from Iowa Reinvestment District Program: $15.5 million
Project highlights: Make improvements to the downtown area that include the addition of a boutique hotel, market-rate apartments and plaza. Upgrade the community college library.

Cedar Rapids reinvestment proposal

Size: 30 acres
Location: Downtown Cedar Rapids
Total investment: $261 million
Amount requesting from Iowa Reinvestment District Program: $39.5 million
Project highlights: Construction of apartments, hotel, bars, restaurants and up to 140,000 square feet of commercial space west of the Cedar Rapids River. Several riverfront amenities are also proposed. In addition, restoration of the historic Guaranty Bank Building and Old World Theater by development of two hotels with a total of 200 rooms.