A rendering of the new soccer-specific stadium that would be home to a USL Championship club released on Tuesday by USL Pro Iowa, part of a 65-acre, $535 Million development project in Des Moines, Iowa.
DES MOINES, Iowa – Pro Iowa, the campaign working to bring USL Championship soccer to Iowa, announced on Tuesday a new initiative in partnership with Krause+, the real estate development arm of Krause Group, and the City of Des Moines that would drive revitalization of areas in Downtown Des Moines. The group also released renderings of the centerpiece to the mixed-use development, a soccer-specific stadium that would become home to the Championship club surrounded by recreation, housing, commerce, and entertainment.
Pro Iowa and its partners are seeking approval from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to establish a reinvestment district that would utilize the Iowa Reinvestment Act (IRA) for the redevelopment of the 65-acre site. Krause+, along with Sherman Associates, would lead development of areas included within the reinvestment district.
“We are thrilled to see continued progress in the City of Des Moines and are grateful to the Krause Family, Mayor Cownie and the City for their work,” said USL COO & Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis. “As momentum builds for USL Pro Iowa, this development is a significant step for the downtown district and will provide more opportunity for residents than ever before.”
“The reinvestment district will transform blighted, vacant and brownfield sites in the heart of Des Moines and replace them with dynamic, mixed-use neighborhoods that use the power of place to draw people of all ages and backgrounds to downtown,” added Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie.
The announcement follows similar initiatives engaged in by current and future USL Championship clubs in recent years. The past year saw the opening of Louisville City FC’s new 15,000-capacity Lynn Family Stadium in the the Butchertown district of the city, while this spring is set to see the opening of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s new 8,000-seat downtown home Weidner Field, part of the broader City for Champions initiative that will see an investment of $120.5 million into new downtown facilities and amenities. The Charlotte Independence are also set to move into a new home this year, with a $40 million investment in renovations at Memorial Stadium modernizing the historic venue for year-round use in the community.
Projects currently in the planning stage include those in Albuquerque, N.M. for a Stadium & Cultural Center that would become home to New Mexico United, while OKC Energy FC is set to develop a new home venue in the coming years as part of the city’s MAPS4 initiative, which was approved in December 2019. Alongside Des Moines, another mixed-use development that would revitalize the waterfront in Providence, R.I. is moving forward with the aim of a USL Championship club beginning play in the 2023 season.
Stadium development is also ongoing in USL League One, where this past year Chattanooga Red Wolves SC opened its permanent home at CHI Memorial Stadium and this offseason began further development of the mixed-use project, including construction of new housing, retail and entertainment around the venue. Construction is currently in progress at the new home of South Georgia Tormenta FC, part of a project that will also feature housing and new community amenities scheduled to open for the 2022 season.
Krause+ plans to redevelop parts of the Western Gateway to include hospitality, food and entertainment, retail and housing. The reinvestment district will also include additional properties owned by Minneapolis-based developer Sherman Associates, which would add housing, retail and hospitality developments.
“The development is a wonderful compliment to projects we have in place,” said Will Anderson, Sr. Developer with Sherman Associates. “New connections and throughways will bridge existing and developing neighborhoods and unlock new opportunities for residents to live, work and play downtown.”
Pro Iowa is working with Capital Crossroads to host roundtable meetings with a diverse group of leaders and stakeholders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. This will ensure the project has extensive community input and serves the needs of people from all backgrounds, with the aim of finalizing plans for the development by the end of the month.
“The Pro Iowa Stadium and Global Plaza will be a welcoming space for sports, community gatherings and events that will continue to ensure a vibrant Downtown and further contribute to a strong region,” said Jay Byers, President and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “The stadium project provides a solution to transform the long-standing contaminated Dico site, which has long been an eyesore in a prime area that is the gateway to our Downtown core.”
To date, Pro Iowa has raised $13.7 million in private donations toward development of the professional soccer stadium, which will be owned by Iowa Soccer Development Foundation, a local nonprofit. Stadium development on the Dico Superfund site will serve as a catalyst for additional development of the reinvestment district. While a long-term commitment, the project is one that will provide positive economic impact for decades to come.