Construction of a 90,000-square-foot building with office space, event center, gymnasium and restaurant is scheduled to begin in September. The building, located in the 2500 block of S.E. Encompass Drive in Waukee, is part of 12 acres Daniel Pettit is developing. The tract is north of land Pettit plans to develop into an entertainment district. Architectual rendering by Wilkus Architects.

Planning is underway for a $101 million entertainment district in Waukee that would include eight to 12 bar-restaurants, up to 500 apartments and an outdoor concert venue on about 27 acres on the northwest corner of Ashworth Road and Grand Prairie Parkway, the project’s developer told the Des Moines Business Record.

Construction of the district, patterned after the popular Power & Light District in Kansas City, could start in spring 2020, said Daniel Pettit, who owns the land and is also developing 12.4 acres north of the site.

"Every big city has some place for people to gather," Pettit said. In Cincinnati, an outdoor amphitheater is located along the banks of the Ohio River with restaurants and bars nearby, he said. Charlotte, N.C. has the PNC Music Pavilion; Burgettstown, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pa., the KeyBank Pavilion; and Kansas City, the Power & Light District and Crown Center.

"We just don’t have a true entertainment area here," said Pettit, who plans on hiring a professional management company to book concerts for what he describes as a mid-size concert venue. "We want to get unique concepts here that are targeting a variety of things and things that Des Moines could really use."

Pettit said the land for the proposed entertainment is under contract to purchase. The agreement includes two contingencies: A successful developer's agreement with the city of Waukee and approval of site plan. Pettit said he's working on a development agreement with city officials and with an architectural firm on a site plan. He said he expects to close on the property in October.

He said several operators of restaurants and bars have shown interest in locating in the area. In addition, Pettit said he’s been approached by an out-of-state developer about developing an apartment complex.

"We think [the proposed district] would be a unique project for Waukee," said Dan Dutcher, the city’s economic development director. "We’re really in the early stages of the city’s involvement… Nothing’s been documented or written or agreed to at this point."

If the proposal for an entertainment district moves forward, Dutcher said other development would likely follow.

"It could help bring some hotels to the area and some other projects we’d like to see," he said. "We think it would be a good project of the city and for the Kettlestone area."

Kettlestone is a 1,200-acre mixed-use development located in Waukee, north of the Interstate Highway 80 and west of 98th Street. In the middle of the area, the 2.1-mile Grand Prairie Parkway acts as the thoroughfare through Kettlestone. 

A Fleet Farm store is under construction at the southern end of Grand Prairie Parkway and Holmes Murphy insurance company, with about 300 workers, is located about a mile north on the east side of the road.

Pettit is developing 12.4 acres on the west side. Completed is a dental office. Construction of an office building is underway with completion scheduled for the end of September.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early September on a two-story, 18,750 square foot office building and an 88,000-square foot office and event center with attached restaurant. Also planned are two hotels.
When completed, the development’s value will total about $60 million, Pettit estimated.

Dallas County Recorder online records show Pettit’s Kettleview LLC sold 2.28 acres on July 25 at 2595 S.E. Encompass Drive to FISH 174 LLC of Mason City and CHCR LLC of Nora Springs for $1.24 million.

Pettit said the two-story office building, which will be completed by July 1, is 75% percent leased. Tenants include a West Des Moines marketing agency and a Clive business consulting firm.

The event center, housed in what Pettit is calling the Encompass Building, will house his company’s offices, a seafood farm-to-table restaurant, and gymnasium that will be open to the public. The event center will be able to accommodate up to 500 people, Pettit said. Construction is expected to take about 18 months, he said.

"This has been an interesting process, designing our building and the restaurant that will go there," Pettit said. 

Construction of a two-story office building will begin in September in a 12-acre development along S.E. Encompass Drive in Waukee. Above is an exterior view of the building. Architect's rendering by Wilkus Architects.