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Proposed sports stadium part of $95-million mixed-use development


A master plan for the proposed soccer stadium complex, valued at $95 million, includes a five-story building for office and retail and a 500-space parking garage. Rendering by INVISION Architecture. 

Blackacre Development, which is working with a group attempting to bring professional soccer to Des Moines, is proposing a mixed-use development around the outdoor sports stadium that would include a street level plaza, five-story office and retail building, restaurants and parking garage for 500 vehicles.

The $95 million development is proposed for about 13 acres south of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, east and west of Southwest 14th Street. 

In September, Krause Group, parent company of Kum & Go convenience stores, announced a proposal to build a 6,000- to 8,000-seat multiuse sports stadium that would be home to a United Soccer League Championships franchise team. Development costs for the stadium are estimated at $60 million; development of the remainder of the project is estimated at $35 million.

The proposed development “is exciting and substantial for this area,” said Rita Conner, Des Moines’ economic development coordinator. 

Blackacre has an agreement to buy about 13 acres from River Point West, led by Minneapolis-based developer George Sherman. The deadline to buy the land is Dec. 31 in order to meet benchmarks established by the soccer league and project investors, according to city documents. A purchase price was not provided for the land; however, it is valued at about $1.8 million, according to the Polk County assessor’s website.

The proposed Blackacre development is adjacent to Sherman’s Gray’s Landing project that includes hotels, offices and commercial buildings. It is also north and east of Hubbell Really Co.’s Gray Station, an 84-acre urban neighborhood under construction that includes apartments, townhouses and single-family houses.

“We will work with the surrounding developers and owners of land to make sure this facility not only provides its intent but also fits within the larger development framework,” Jerry Haberman said during Tuesday’s Urban Design Review Board meeting. Haberman is president of Krause Group Real Estate.

Backers of the effort to bring professional soccer to the Des Moines area have until April 1 to show there is support, financially and otherwise, for a team and soccer stadium. Krause, who would own the professional soccer team, has said he would contribute to the start up costs for the club as well as provide a “substantial funding mechanism” for development of the stadium.

Private donations are being sought as well as financial support from the state, Polk County and Des Moines. 

The Des Moines Register has reported that the group has asked for up to $30 million from Polk County but that officials balked at the amount. 

Matt Anderson, Des Moines assistant city manager, said the group has not requested financial assistance from the city. “We don’t have the ability to do any direct financial assistance,” he said.

The development group also has not asked about economic development grants tied to tax increment financing, he said. 

When asked about efforts to raise money for the stadium project, a spokeswoman for the development group wrote that “conversations continue to take place with multiple interested parties, stakeholders and community leaders. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to move forward as a unified community.”

If the project moves forward, it is expected to generate about 1,485 temporary jobs associated with developing the stadium and surrounding area. When fully developed, the development would create 720 full-time jobs associated with the stadium and surrounding development, officials tied to the project said.

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