Des Moines USL club project picks up pace


US Iowa new stadium Des Moines Image: Pro Iowa

Recreation, housing, commerce and entertainment with a soccer specific stadium as the cherry on the cake is what Des Moines, capital of the American State of Iowa, can look forward to, in the days to come.

Pro Iowa and USL sources stated that the movement to bring a new soccer-specific stadium that would be home to a United Soccer League (USL) Championship club and revitalize areas of downtown Des Moines over a 65-acre space at an estimated cost of $535 million has gained momentum after the Pro Iowa campaign struck a deal with Krause+, and the City of Des Moines (US).

USL Pro Iowa is the campaign to support bringing a new multiuse soccer stadium and USL Championship club to Des Moines, Iowa.

The partnership with Krause+ – the real estate development arm of Krause Group, and the City of Des Moines was announced recently by Pro Iowa and USL.

The USL Championship is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States that began its inaugural season in 2011. The USL is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation as a Division II Professional League since 2017, placing it under Major League Soccer (MLS) in the hierarchy.

Pro Iowa is working with volunteers of Capital Crossroads, a vision plan put in place by Iowa leaders for greater Des Moines and Central Iowa, to host roundtable meetings with a varied group of leaders and stakeholders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. This it is hoped will ensure extensive community participation and serve the needs of people from diverse backgrounds with the aim of finalizing plans for the development at the earliest possible.

Jay Byers, President and CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership, commented, “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.”

“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,” he added.

Pro Iowa and USL sources added that the 200-acre Super fund site where the stadium is planned to be constructed was operated by Dico Inc for about 40 years. The company operations included chemical and pesticide formulation and resulted in reported contamination of the area.

USL Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis remarked, “We are thrilled to see continued progress in the City of Des Moines and are grateful to the Krause Family, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and the City for their work.”

“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,” he added.

“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,” Mayor Cownie elaborated.

Iowa Pro and its partners are awaiting approval from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) to establish the reinvestment district that would utilize the Iowa Reinvestment Act (IRA).

IEDA works to strengthen economic and community vitality by building partnerships and leveraging resources to make Iowa the choice for people and business.

The reinvestment district would scale up the quality of life, create and enhance unique opportunities and substantially benefit the community, region and the State.

Krause+, along with Minneapolis-based commercial real estate developer Sherman Associates, would head the expansion of areas included within the reinvestment district.

Krause+ proposes to re-energize a section of the Western Gateway with an infusion of hospitality, food and entertainment, retail and housing. The renovations will also take place in additional properties owned by 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, Senior 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,” Anderson added.

Pro Iowa and USL said that private donations to the tune of $13.7 million have been garnered by Pro Iowa towards development of the professional soccer stadium, which will be owned by Iowa Soccer Development Foundation, a local non-profit organization.

Envisioning a long-term commitment, the stadium is seen as one that will provide positive economic upswing down the years.

The Stadium development on the Dico Superfund site will be the catalyst for additional development of the reinvestment district.

The makeover is one among a line of similar initiatives engaged in by current and future USL Championship clubs in recent years.

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