A proposed USL Championship stadium in Des Moines is being delayed to a 2023 opening, as an effort to finalize a $95-million development in the face of a coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a challenge.
Last September it was announced that an effort is underway to launch a Des Moines USL Championship club backed by an ownership group led by Krause Group Chairman and CEO and Des Moines Menace (USL League Two) owner Kyle Krause. As part of that announcement Krause announced plans for a 6,000-to-8,000-seat stadium designed to host professional soccer as anchor for the development, which would also include a five-story office and retail building, restaurants, a 500-space parking garage, and street-level plaza. The total cost of the development is estimated at $95 million, including $60 million for the stadium and $35 million for the ancillary amenities.
And while Krause Group subsidiary Blackacre Development LLC was successful in acquiring a potential venue site for $7.98 million, putting together the rest of the deal, including any agreement on potential public funding, has been a challenge. A deadline of April 1 to show USL evidence of a funding deal was ultimately extended, and now the goal for the stadium opening is now March 2023.
The extended date takes into account the new reality of tackling large projects when so much focus is on defeating the coronavirus while at the same time tackling high unemployment rates and government deficits. That’s not to say new development isn’t possible: In Pawtucket (RI), for instance, planning on a proposed downtown Pawtucket soccer development continues, with a deadline for exclusive negotiating rights extended through the end of May. From the Des Moines Register:
While Krause is certainly aware of the across-the-board financial tightening and almost unprecedented unemployment rates COVID-19 has caused, he’s further emphasizing the economic positives professional soccer in Des Moines can provide on the other side of this epidemic.
“Having a project that’s shovel ready — a project that can drive economic development like our project does — will be important,” Krause said. “It’s more than $70 million in spending on construction. It’s got an annual substantial payback from an economic development standpoint.
“Our opportunity today is saying there are a lot of great reasons to build the stadium, a lot of great reasons to have a Championship League team in Des Moines. But maybe the most paramount reason today is we’re going to want and need that economic development opportunity and a magnet for additional economic development (once coronavirus is under control). The challenge is how do governments, individuals and corporations spend their money? The economic development got that much more important.”
With an April 1, 2020 deadline to show USL an adequate funding plan was in place, a 2022 opening already was an incredibly ambitious goal. Remember, big projects take big time, and by any measure this is a big project, made even more complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Rendering courtesy INVISION Architecture.
RELATED STORIES: Land Acquisition Moves Des Moines USL Stadium Forward; Des Moines USL Stadium Proposal Takes Step Forward; Des Moines USL Stadium Pitched as Anchor of Development; Potential Des Moines USL Championship Club Eyed for 2022 Launch