An $80 million golf, entertainment and hotel complex is proposed at 5055 Merle Hay Road in Johnston. The project will include climate-controlled bays from which golfers can hit balls onto a range. Architectural rendering by Imprint Architects


A local development and investment group is partnering with the city of Johnston on an $80 million project that would include a golf entertainment venue and connecting hotel located along a rapidly redeveloping portion of Merle Hay Road.

Stoye & Kann Development, in partnership with investment group Pan and Piper and the city of Johnston, plans to develop the project on land purchased by the city in October at 5055 Merle Hay Road.

The development is proposed to include a 100-room hotel that will be attached to a 50,000-square-foot golf entertainment venue with 60 bays from which golf balls can be hit onto a driving range. The venue, called Bombers, is also proposed to include a video arcade, a rooftop and other bars, a full-service restaurant, and private meeting rooms and event spaces.

Bombers is planned on land located north of Beaver Creek and will include trails that connect with the Trestle to Trestle Trail, a pond stocked for fishing and a kayak launch that will be built by the city.

“This location is right off the interstate; we’re not on one extreme end of a city but right in the middle and will be easy to get to, whether you’re from Altoona or West Des Moines,” said Dr. Allen Stoye, a principal in Stoye & Kann Development, which also includes Eric Kann and Mitchell Kann.

“This project has been in the works since September 2020 and a big part of making it successful was finding the right piece of land. … This is the right piece of land,” Stoye said.

The development is planned within Johnston’s Merle Hay Road Gateway District, a 123-acre area north of Interstate Highway 80-35.

Ignit, an indoor/outdoor sports fitness complex, is planned on the west side of Merle Hay Road. A 200,000-square-foot facility will include an indoor track, full-size indoor soccer field, multipurpose courts, meeting areas and outdoor recreation areas.

The Johnston City Council on Tuesday approved the site plan for the Ignit project.

The council also approved a development agreement with Stoye & Kann Development. The terms of the agreement include:

  • Selling the property at 5055, 5229 and 5249 Merle Hay Road to the development group for $1.6 million.
  • Requiring the developer to construct the golf entertainment venue and hotel with an assessed value of at least $36 million. The venue must employ an average of 150 people per month.
  • Requiring the developer to construct three additional commercial buildings by Dec. 31, 2026. Uses for the buildings are expected to include restaurants, retail and entertainment, and upper-story office or residential.
  • Providing up to $2 million in reimbursement grants to the developer for costs associated with grading the property.
  • Providing up to $300,000 in the form of an infrastructure grant.
  • Providing up to $14.6 million in tax increment finance rebates over 14 years.

“Johnston is excited for each of these developments to take shape,” Mayor Paula Dierenfeld said in a prepared statement. “We have said before ‘If we build it, they will come.’”

Stoye said grading of the site will begin in early March and construction of the facility will begin in late spring. Construction will likely take up to 17 months to complete. The venue is expected to open by July 2023, he said.

In other commercial real estate news: 2 mixed-use buildings, hotel planned for Ankeny’s Prairie Trail