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With Topgolf’s WDM location, three golf entertainment venue developments in the works

Developer says Johnston project could be modified in response

Topgolf Entertainment Group announced today it plans to bring a location to West Des Moines, making it the state’s first Topgolf venue and the third indoor golfing venue under development in the Des Moines metro area.

The multilevel venue would feature 72 climate-controlled outdoor hitting bays, food and beverages, TVs, music and year-round programming, according to a Topgolf release.

“We are thrilled to be joining the Des Moines community and look forward to welcoming our new Players to Topgolf in the near future,” Topgolf Chief Development Officer Chris Callaway said in the release. “Our focus is on creating more ways for people to play the game of golf in a fun and unique way, and the Des Moines area is the perfect place to kick off our growth within the state.”

Hurd Real Estate is planning to develop the Topgolf facility on 12 acres of land it owns on the northwest corner of Jordan Creek Parkway and Mills Civic Parkway, south of Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh, the Des Moines Register reports.

What about the other projects?

With two similar projects also planned by local developers, whether the Des Moines area can now support three golf venues is a key question.

Dr. Allen Stoye, a principal in Stoye & Kann Development, which is developing the proposed $80 million golf, entertainment and hotel complex called Bombers on Merle Hay Road in Johnston with investment group Pan and Piper and the city of Johnston, said the project is moving forward but with possible modifications to the original plans.

“Will we still build 72 bays or 60 bays? We may certainly modify that as part of plan B,” he said.

It will still be a golf-based facility and alternative plans will be discussed in the coming days, he said, but the possible need for contingencies have been considered since the start of the project.

Stoye said they have always been aware of the possibility of a Des Moines Topgolf and started preparing modification options in case the national golf brand came to the area.

He said Stoye & Kann were in talks with Topgolf starting in February when the Johnston project was first approved by the city council, to locate the Des Moines-area Topgolf location in Johnston.

Topgolf made several site visits in the spring and wanted additional trees removed to make the facility visible from the interstate, which became a sticking point for the Johnston partners.

“We were not excited, the city was not excited about removing all of those trees to make a huge window to the highway. … This is part of the beauty of that area, and why it’s different,” Stoye said.

He said it was “disappointing” that Topgolf decided to go another way, but they still expect demand for the Bombers venue with the 30-acre recreational complex under development across the street that will be anchored by an Ignit Sports and Fitness facility.

“We certainly still feel that when you’ve got thousands of kids at that location across the street for 49 weeks a year, anyone from age 7 to 14, and their parents … people are going to walk across the street versus driving 20 minutes, so there’s certainly still plenty of options there,” he said.

The Johnston project also has a five-year contract to use Topgolf-owned Toptracer Range technology that allows golfers to see real-time flight and distance of a ball after it is hit.


The city of Johnston sent a statement to the Business Record saying it plans to continue as a partner on the Johnston development project.


“We are disappointed by Top Golf’s announcement, but the City of Johnston will continue to work with Stoye & Kann on the proposed Bombers Development property,” city spokesperson Janet Wilwerding wrote in an email. “We are excited about ongoing development in the Johnston Gateway and the amenities these projects will bring to the community.”

The second local project is the $26 million Suite Shots golf entertainment venue located south of Grand Ave. in West Des Moines being developed by developer Paul Cownie and North Dakota developer Kevin Christianson, which is facing lawsuits from a group of residents who live in the nearby gated community of Glen Oaks and oppose the development.

Cownie did not immediately return phone calls requesting comment on the future of the Suite Shots development.

Related coverage:Can the Des Moines area support two golf entertainment venues?

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