Proposal Would Turn Iowa Fields Into $600M Development, with Huge Water Park
Those Iowa fields above will very likely be the future home of a massive entertainment development here in Iowa.
The site would be home to a 100,000-square-foot indoor water park, a family entertainment center, and a 400-room hotel.
The development would be known as The Grand Experience and located off Grand Avenue in West Des Moines, between 60th and 88th streets, according to the Des Moines Register.
I say "would" but, barring a big surprise, it's going to happen. West Des Moines and the developer are confident it will be built. The City of West Des Moines will review a feasibility study this month with a development agreement vote by the city council to follow.
This is how developer Jim Bergman described the water park to WHO-13, “It will be very good, comparable to the waterparks that are up in the Wisconsin Dells. Our hope is that people think about coming to Des Moines as opposed to finding that experience in Minneapolis, Kansas City, or the Dells. It will be a closer equivalent to the waterparks that are a long distance away.”
To put the financial commitment of this project into perspective, Clyde Evans, who's West Des Moines' community and economic development director, compared it to Jordan Creek Town Center. That project was built in 2004 and, in today's dollars, would've cost $314 million. Obviously, The Great Experience would be nearly double that cost.
The Des Moines Register reports that plans for The Great Experience have been in development for six years. A smaller project was initially considered for the Quad Cities before developers decided on a more significant project in West Des Moines.
Developers hope to break ground next fall. WHO-13 says Bergman hopes to open The Great Experience in 2025.