Welcome to the Johnston Economic Development Corporation

Johnston Economic Development Corporation
Our mission is to foster economic growth and opportunity in the Johnston community and in the Greater Des Moines region.

Featured Property

Windsor Office Park

Windsor_Office 2

Over the past year, several changes have occurred in Windsor Office Park. Windsor Office Park is located in the center of several major employers such as Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. , Camp Dodge and John Deere Financial which has attracted major retail, food and other uses. Lots range from 1.01 to 7.92 acres in size. Lots 7-20 allow residential construction on 2nd floor of an office building. Traffic counts are 20,800 vehicles per day and the entrance of the park has a signalized intersection. Click here to view a print brochure to learn more about available lots in Windsor Office Park.

Vintage Cooperatives – A New Option For Johnston





The Johnston Planning & Zoning Commission has taken action to approve a request to amend the Comprehensive Plan for land use and the official zoning map in Windsor Office Park to permit the development of medium and higher density residential units in the northwest section of the area. The development – proposed by Ewing Land Development Services – would create a new senior residential cooperative as well as bi-attached residences or townhomes.

Other residential projects for the area have previously been considered. Three things seem to distinguish this project proposal from its predecessors.

  1. The project plans for lower density bi-attached or town home units adjacent to the residences located to the west – apparently providing for a more acceptable integration with the neighborhood.
  2. The project places the higher density senior living facility to the eastern portion of the project – bounded by NW 90th street. The eastern portion of Windsor Office Park would remain unchanged with on focus on commercial uses.
  3. The project is structured as a cooperative – meaning that residents would purchase shares in the development in lieu of purchasing the properties directly. The concept has been used with success in other areas of the greater Des Moines region.

The proposal now advances to the Johnston City Council for further consideration.

MHR Redevelopment Concepts – Input Desired










If you have been tuned into development activity in Johnston over the past several years it’s likely that you have heard about plans for future development of the Merle Hay Road Gateway area. As the gateway area has made strides towards development, so has the north end of Merle Hay Road.

The City of Johnston has developed several concept plans for the future development of property at the intersection of Merle Hay Road and NW 62nd Ave.  The focal point of the project would be the NE corner of the intersection where City Hall is currently located. The City is currently seeking input from developers, community leaders and citizens.

Want to learn more?  Attend the Johnston Economic Development Forum on March 30, 2017.

New Interchange Comments Requested

The Iowa DOT held a public meeting on Thursday, March 9 at the Giovannetti Community Shelter in Urbandale to receive comments about the design of the proposed new interchange at I80/35 and HWY 141. Iowa DOT Staff, and JEDCO member HR Green were present to discuss the proposed improvements in Polk County. You can view simulation videos here.

Pictured above is DOT official Scott Dockstader visiting with a participant in the meeting.The public meeting had an open format allowing the public and Iowa DOT staff to discuss the project informally. Click here for more information. Comments are being accepted through March 20, 2017.

Annual Development Forum

Forum Audiance2

Thursday, March 30, 2017 – 3:30 – 5:30 PM

JEDCO Update
City of Johnston Update
Brent Willett – Cultivation Corridor
Bethany Wilcoxon – Capital Crossroads

Formal Presentations – 3:30 –  5:30 PM
Networking Reception to Follow

Meet Our Keynote Speakers

Brent Willett
Cultivation Corridor


Brent Willett, CEcD is Executive Director of the Cultivation Corridor, a public-private regional economic development and innovation acceleration organization focused on growing Central Iowa’s agriculture and bioscience sectors, and attracting investment, jobs and talent to the state.

Prior to his role at the Cultivation Corridor, Willett served as President & CEO of the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation, a regional economic development group in North Central Iowa headquartered in Mason City, Iowa.  Preceding his role at the North Iowa Corridor, Willett was Executive Director of the Fairfield Economic Development Association and Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce in Fairfield, Iowa.

Willett currently serves on the Leadership Iowa Board of Governors; Iowa Chamber Alliance Board of Directors; Iowa State University CIRAS Advisory Board; University of Northern Iowa Institute for Decision Making Advisory Board; and in advisory positions with several organizations.

A native of Davenport, Iowa, Willett, his wife Emily and their daughter live in Ankeny, Iowa.

Bethany Wilcoxon
Capital Crossroads

Bethany038 (002)

As Capital Crossroads Director, Bethany Wilcoxon oversees implementation of the regional vision strategy. She spent several years serving Iowa Great Places, a grant program of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and then leading the development of The Tomorrow Plan, a $3.1 million regional initiative to advance sustainability in Greater Des Moines.  Her accomplishments include the Business Record’s Forty Under 40 (2016), Leadership Iowa (Class of 2015-2016), Global Shapers Des Moines Founding Curator (2015), ISU STATEment Maker (2012), Next American Vanguard (2010), and Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute (Class of 2011-2012).

Outside of her professional work, Bethany serves on the Great Outdoors Foundation Board and the Jester Park Nature Center Capital Campaign Team, and is the US Green Building Council ADVANCE Ambassador for the State of Iowa. She has led Des Moines’ Urban Ambassadors as President, served on the Board of the Drake Neighborhood Association, and has volunteered for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (2014 Woman of the Year Candidate), Big Brothers Big Sisters, ULI Iowa, the Des Moines Symphony, and the Des Moines Metro Opera.

 RSVP at

Proposed Bricktowne Apartment Complex

At their work session on February 21st Johnston City Council members expressed support for a request for TIF assistance for the development of 384 one and two bedroom apartments at 6454 Merle Hay Road and adjacent properties in Johnston.The location is generally south of the Johnson Brothers facility. The development includes five three-story brick apartment complexes to be developed over the next six years. The first phase would be completed in December of 2018.

The price range for the apartments is expected to be between $850 -$1050 and would target young professionals. Based on a projected assessed value of $42.6 million, a TIF rebate of up to $2.6 million could be provided to the developer over five years. The next step in the process will be for the City to consider rezoning the NW section of the property from M1 to ROC-2. For more information about this project, download the staff report here.

A New View of the Gateway

At the JEDCO Annual Meeting, Adam Plagge, the City of Johnston Economic Development Manager, presented new videos which provide a closer look at the Merle Hay Road Gateway area. The first video model shows a look at the gateway area from the Interstate. This video show how planned tree clearing and landscaping could open up visibility to the site. The second video takes a closer look as you enter the Gateway area on Merle Hay Road north of I-35/80. This is another great tool to help prospective developers envision the future look of the area.
Click here to view the video model showing the view from I-35/80

Click here to view the video model showing the entrance to the Gateway area.

State of the City

On Thursday, January 26th the Johnston Chamber of Commerce held their Annual State of the City Luncheon at Hilton Garden Inn. The luncheon included updates from the Johnston Community School District, The City of Johnston and JEDCO. Phil Dunshee the Executive Director of Johnston Economic Development Corporation provided a recap of activities in 2016 and insights about development to come in 2017. In addition he included insights about development opinions expressed in the Community Needs Assessment report recently published by Johnston Community Education and the Johnston Partnership. Phil ended his presentation by encouraging all parties in the room to work together, find solutions, have mutual respect and trust, have integrity, work as a team, be involved and engaged and work for the mutual benefit of one another. To view JEDCO’s presentation from the State of the City luncheon, visit the resources section of the Grow Johnston Web Site.    

JEDCO Board Tours Cadence



On January 17th the JEDCO Board of Directors ventured out from their normal meeting location at the JEDCO office and visited the new Cadence Apartments. The Cadence Apartments are an urban-style Hubbell Realty project located on the North end of Merle Hay Road in Johnston. Board members had the opportunity to tour the new facility and view the variety of floors plans and amenities Cadence has to offer. Cadence is currently leasing one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Click here for more information about Cadence!  

SEH Expands to Central Iowa, Feeling at Home in Johnston

A large, regional consulting firm is now calling Johnston home. Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) opened their newest office in Johnston in July, 2016. The Johnston location is the second SEH office in Iowa, adding to their longstanding north Iowa presence in Mason City. SEH is a civil engineering, architecture, and planning firm with more than 800 professional staff in 31 offices across the Upper Midwest. Current staff in the Johnston office include:

Perry Gjersvik, PE Waster/wastewater engineer and office Manager

Ross Harris, AICP Transportation Planner

Mike Lyon, PE Transportation Engineer

Lucas Casey Business Development Manager

The local team has more than 60 years of experience working with metro area communities, developers, and contractors. They are excited for the opportunity to launch SEH’s expanded Iowa presence from Johnston. The new SEH office is located at 5414 NW 88th Street, Suite 140. You can reach the team by phone at 515-608-6000, or find more information about SEH online at: www.sehinc.com.

Johnston Community Development – 2016 Annual Report

Sustained growth and redevelopment was the community development theme for Johnston in 2016. More than $60 million in new valuation was permitted over the course of the year. An expanded Annual City of Johnston Development Summary report is now available and provides a detailed summary of new permits issued, construction projects and insights into what to expect for 2017. Several important economic development projects were kicked off in the 4th Quarter of 2016. Stay tuned to for more updates on city development news.