EP Award Promo

Family Leader Foundation buys farmland in northeast Polk County


The Family Leader Foundation has purchased a family farm in northeast Polk County and plans to convert a portion of the property into commercial and event space.

The Polk County Board of Supervisors earlier this year approved changing the county’s zoning map to designate 21 acres of the property as a mixed-use district. It had been an agricultural district.

Geisler farm map
The land purchased by the Family Leader Foundation is at 5251 N.E. 94th Ave., about 3 1/2 miles east of Ankeny.

The Family Leader Foundation currently is located in Urbandale. The group, headed by former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, would move its headquarters to recently purchased property at 5251 N.E. 94th Ave., about 3 1/2 miles east of Ankeny.

The foundation paid Darrell and Malinda Geisler $2 million for the nearly 80-acre parcel, Polk County real estate records show. The group plans on using a portion of the property for its new headquarters.

Between 2005 and fall 2021, the Geisler family operated an agritourism business on the northern portion of the site that included a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, hayrack rides and other fall activities. Buildings in the area include a large pole building that has had several additions added to it, according to information provided county supervisors. In 2017, the Geislers moved a large, historic barn to the site, according to county information.

Geisler farm sale 3
The area that is proposed to be redeveloped as it currently looks. Photo courtesy Polk County assessor 

The Family Leader plans to use the existing structures as part of its new campus, according to county information. It also has proposed adding a multilevel, silo-shaped structure with large south-facing windows and a 17,695-square-foot structure that would includes offices and studios, plans submitted to the county show. The existing barn would be used for offices and a boardroom. The other existing building would be an event venue with over 10,600 square feet of space.

Also proposed is a 2.5-acre pond, an amphitheater and walking paths.

A county official indicated that redevelopment of the site will begin soon. A plat of survey to remove the rezoned parcel from the remainder of the property has been reviewed and approved by county officials, the official wrote in an email.

The real estate transaction was recorded April 7.

Fields of Harvest Geisler farm
A multilevel, silo-shaped structure with large south-facing windows is proposed to be built on a new campus for the Family Leader Foundation. The structure would be connected to an existing barn and to a newly constructed building. Rendering courtesy William Ludwig & Associates 


Kathy A. Bolten

Kathy A. Bolten is a senior staff writer at Business Record. She covers real estate & development, law & government and retail.

Email the writer

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!

americanequity web 040123 300x250