Pro Iowa, the campaign working to bring USL Championship soccer to Iowa, has unveiled plans for a stadium in Downtown Des Moines.
The new initiative comes as part of a partnership with real estate developer Krause Group and the City of Des Moines that would drive revitalisation of areas in Downtown Des Moines.
The group also released renderings of the centrepiece 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.
USL COO & Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis said:
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. 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.
Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie added:
The reinvestment district will transform blighted, vacant and brownfield sites in the heart of Des Moines and replace them with dynamic, mixed-use neighbourhoods that use the power of place to draw people of all ages and backgrounds to downtown.
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 modernising 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.
USL Championship Stadium Development
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.