Dollars and Sense: Building Publicly Desired Amenities

Course Details

Johnston, Iowa, is a growing Des Moines suburb with more than 25,000 residents. Johnston has everything it needs except a town center focal point and public gathering space for locals and visitors. With the market only delivering traditional strip-retail developments, and after years of careful planning and significant city-led investment, the Johnston town center and its public space, "The Yard," opened in August 2021.

Presenters describe how the community-supported town center was planned, designed, developed, and implemented. The town center includes numerous public amenities; a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose City Hall; public art; and active open space that engages citizens through all seasons. These aspects prompted a shift from sole reliance on ROI to providing new amenities desired by residents and making room for seven new multi-tenant buildings that house a hotel, retail, restaurants and entertainment.

Hear insider insights on navigating a complex, municipal-led, public-private partnership; addressing the challenges of infill redevelopment; and building and opening a town center during a global recession and pandemic.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how to navigate and pay for a complex, municipal-led redevelopment and public-private partnership.
  • Use the design of public amenities, public art, and City Hall to further project goals that are not possible in a strictly market-driven project.
  • Learn successful implementation tactics, including targeted public investment, incentives, land assembly, and design guidelines that can catalyze private investment and sustain success.