Des Moines' Merle Hay Mall changes moving forward

(Des Moines, IA) -- A plan to transform the Merle Hay Mall area is moving forward. The Iowa Economic Development Authority has approved 26-(m) million dollars for a plan to convert the former Younker's into an arena for the Des Moines Buccaneers.

The mall's current food court and Kohl's store will be transformed into a multi-sport training and competition center. A new Kohl's will be builty nearby, opening in 2022.

A partnership of the Cities of Urbandale and Des Moines, Polk County, Merle Hay Mall and the Des Moines Buccaneers submitted an application for an allocation of $30 million to support over $120 million in total investment. The $26.5 million amount allocated comes from a portion of the increased sales and lodging taxes generated on the Merle Hay Campus over twenty years. The project is expected to generate an economic impact of $127 million.

Liz Holland represents the third generation of Merle Hay Mall ownership. “We are grateful to the IEDA Board for their support of our exciting project. We know they had difficult choices to make and we are happy with our allocation. IEDA support is a critical step in making our Buccaneers project a reality. We are now focusing on next steps to meet our ambitious time frame,” Holland said.

“This is great news for the community,” said Michael Devlin, Managing Partner of OVSE, owners of the Des Moines Buccaneers. “Families have enjoyed watching the Bucs play in Urbandale for 40 uninterrupted years before the derecho forced us to temporarily relocate last year. We are so thankful to everyone who has supported our project that will provide a venue for the community to be proud of for years to come. The new facility will return the Buccaneers to best in class in the United States Hockey League. This is a tremendous step forward for a very important concept and we look forward to announcing additional partnerships soon.”

Photo: Des Moines Buccaneers/USA Hockey

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