Johnston Town Center project that includes new City Hall to break ground in September
The long-awaited Johnston Town Center project aims to break ground in late September.
The 1-acre space on the east side of Merle Hay Road between NW 62nd Avenue and NW 63rd Place is expected to serve as a future gathering place for the community's residents.
Construction will continue for the project through fall 2020 with a new City Hall and some commercial buildings opening shortly after, according to Adam Plagge, Johnston's economic development manager.
Plagge said the city has completed the acquisition of property for the project, which has been in the works since 2008 when a planning study for the Merle Hay Road corridor was conducted. That study was updated in 2016.
The project's design is expected to have some small tweaks, but is otherwise complete, Plagge said. The design includes room for new restaurants, businesses and office space.
Once complete, Plagge said the site will host Johnston's farmer's market, concerts, festivals, movies in the park, and car shows. It will also have four-season amenities, such as a splash pad that morphs into an ice rink during the winter.
The Hansen Company has been hired to develop the project and Hansen Real Estate will market and lease the commercial space. Plagge said the estimated city cost for the project through the first of three rounds of pricing is between $27-$31 million.
The initial infrastructure and new City Hall will be constructed through a lease-purchase agreement and financed through multiple avenues. Among them, Plagge said, is the sale of property for private development, tax increment financing, property taxes generated by private investment on the site, which is expected to total between $42-50 million, and the issuance of bonds.
The new City Hall, which will include an amphitheater and outdoor accessible restrooms, accounts for approximately $10 million of the overall price tag.
The existing Johnston City Hall is a former Hy-vee building bought through a lease-purchase agreement in 1986. The building has also been home to the city's library and the police station. Plagge said it will be demolished once the new building is complete.
Gage Miskimen is a news reporter mostly covering West Des Moines, Waukee, and Clive for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com or 515-284-8234. Follow him on Twitter @gagemisky