As Jordan Creek Town Center nears full occupancy, several projects surrounding the mall are midway to completion or just taking off.

"The true impact people probably are not going to visualize for a year or two years from now," said Clyde Evans, director of community development for West Des Moines. "We're looking at a pretty significant year in terms of commercial construction."

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Although the city planned for offshoot development before the mall was constructed, some people still are concerned about the impact these projects may have on one another and the entire region once they're completed.

At least seven commercial and office park projects are under way around Jordan Creek between 60th Street and just west of Jordan Creek Parkway, five of which are planning to break ground this year. In total, more than 200 acres are being developed.

Though the city anticipated this kind of growth, Evans said the one thing he did not expect was the large number of businesses wanting to relocate to the area. "I think a lot of companies are looking for those types of amenities for their workers," he said, "in terms of being close to shopping, a lot of restaurants and a lot of hotels."

But despite fast-paced growth, Evans said, the city has the infrastructure in place to handle the additional buildings and traffic.

"It's something we did our homework on upfront in terms of figuring out roads and utility systems necessary to support development. ... So we really shouldn't be getting any surprises out there in terms of infrastructure needs," Evans said.

The traffic count on Mills Civic Parkway between Interstate 35 and Glen Oaks Drive is 30,827 cars a day according to 2006 figures, but between South 68th Street and South Jordan Creek Parkway, it's still only around 6,833. The six lanes leading to the mall on South Jordan Creek Parkway between Bridgewood Drive and E.P. True Parkway handle just over 15,000 cars a day.

Evans said these traffic figures are within the city's original projections. "We look at the infrastructure needs based on ultimate development so that we don't get taken by surprise," he said.

Even though the infrastructure is in place, some people are concerned that the area could become overbuilt.

Veteran developer Tim Urban of Urban Development Group believes retail in the area is already overbuilt, especially with restaurants. At the same time, he doesn't see a way for the city to restrict growth.

"Other than traffic and noise or issues that affect nearby or adjoining residential areas, it's hard to argue to put a lid on commercial development," he said, especially because the city needs to pay off the bonds it issued to fund infrastructure construction for the mall.

Kenneth Stone, a retired Iowa State University economics professor, agrees that Dallas County runs the risk of becoming overbuilt.

"It depends on what happens to the residential population out there," Stone said. There may be too many stores right now, he said, but that could change if the population in the area increases as fast as planners' projections.

Stone is working on a follow-up to his initial study on the potential impact Jordan Creek Town Center could have on the region. Although he did not have definitive figures yet, he said he has noticed initially that the mall seems to have pulled sales out of Polk County and Des Moines while other suburbs in Greater Des Moines have not been affected as much. He also believes it may have reduced business at other shopping centers in Iowa, such as Iowa City's Coral Ridge Mall.

Sales tax revenues for Dallas County in fiscal year 2006, which ended March 31, were $33.7 million, compared with just over $16.7 million for the fiscal year 2004, which was calculated before the mall opened in August 2004.

Stephanie Weisenbach, program coordinator for 1,000 Friends of Iowa, a non-profit organization that promotes "responsible development," said the organization would like the city and developers of Jordan Creek to think more regionally with other areas in Greater Des Moines.

"Land use planning and economic development really need to take a harder look at how much retail one region can sustain," she said, "and plan cooperatively so appropriate balanced goals can be created together as a region."

Although there are concerns about development west of Interstate 35, developers say that many national and local retailers are still looking to build near Jordan Creek Town Center and that interest is high despite competition from other projects in the area.

"There's still a lot more retail to come because residential and office demands are there," said Colleen Johnson, real estate broker for CB Richard Ellis/Hubbell Commercial, who is working on the Jordan Square and Paradise Point developments. "A huge demand. There were a lot of retailers that stayed back and hung out while Jordan Creek was under way. They wanted to see how retailers would do, and they're doing very well.

"The Jordan Creek Town Center area will be the largest retail development in Iowa for the rest of our lives."