The proposed Bombers entertainment venue in Johnston has grown to include spaces for pickleball and ax-throwing. Construction of the $125 million development is expected to begin in April. Rendering by Imprint Architects and Confluence | Landscape Architecture, Planning + Urban Design


Plans for a proposed entertainment venue in Johnston have expanded to include a wider variety of activity options for guests, who will be able to bowl, throw axes, play pickleball, and drive or putt golf balls, the Business Record has learned.

When plans for Bombers were announced last February, the entertainment venue was expected to have 60 climate-controlled bays from which golf balls could be hit onto a driving range. Other features in the proposed venue were to include a video arcade, a full-service restaurant, bars and a 100-room hotel.

But after Topgolf announced plans last June to open a venue in West Des Moines, Allen Stoye and others in the development group revisited plans for Bombers and decided to refocus the venue from golf to family entertainment.

“We’re still confident that people are going to come to [Bombers] even if Topgolf chooses to come to this market,” Stoye said. “We’re not going head-to-head on the golf. We’re are going to be an entire entertainment district.

“It’s almost like a Topgolf, SpareTime and Dave & Buster’s all rolled into one,” he said.

Stoye originally had formed a partnership with Eric Kann and Mitchell Kann to develop the Bombers project on 35 acres at 5055 Merle Hay Road. After the Topgolf announcement, the brothers decided to pull out of the partnership, Stoye told the Johnston City Council in November. Stoye told the Business Record that he has acquired the brothers’ share of the partnership and has brought other investors into the project.

Stoye expects the project to break ground in April and be completed by late summer of 2024.

The centerpiece of the revised project is a three-level, 75,000-square-foot family entertainment center that is expected to include:

  • 36 climate-controlled hitting bays overlooking a 270-yard driving range.
  • More than 100 state-of-the-art arcade games.
  • 16 bowling lanes.
  • Areas for ax-throwing, billiards and other games.
  • Two Popstroke-style putting courses.
  • Pickleball.
  • Restaurants, bars, conference and event center space, and a live music venue.

Bombers is also expected to include a 95-room hotel, four additional development pads, a fishing pond and a kayak launch. The development pads are expected to be occupied by a national chain restaurant, a brewpub and quick-serve restaurants, Stoye said.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Suresh Reddy, a Johnston council member, said in November. “We had a question mark about whether this would happen. We’re excited to see it move forward.”

The proposed development is larger than originally planned, pushing development costs to about $125 million. Originally, the project was estimated to cost $80 million to complete. An expanded main entertainment venue and higher costs for materials contributed to the increase in development costs, Stoye said.

The site’s main structure will be three levels, with about 40,000 square feet of space on the first level. The upper two levels, where the golf-ball-hitting bays will be located, will be smaller, Stoye said. The facility is being designed so that it can be expanded if demand exists for additional hitting bays, he said.

The first level will include arcade games and a restaurant with an outdoor patio, Stoye said. A hotel originally was planned to be attached to the main venue. A courtyard now separates the two structures, he said.

“I was frustrated when Topgolf made its announcement,” Stoye said. “We went back and looked at [the project] and said, ‘Yes, we can do this.’”

RENDERING ABOVE: The 75,000-square-foot Bombers venue will have restaurant and bar areas where guests will be able to watch sporting events on big screens. Rendering by Imprint Architects

WATCH: A flyover video of the proposed Bombers entertainment district in Johnston. The video is by Confluence| Landscape Architecture, Planning + Urban Design and Keen Project Solutions.



WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH SUITE SHOTS, TOPGOLF: To find out the latest on two other proposed golf entertainment venues, click here.