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.

Merle Hay Road / Johnston Drive
(Former Heard Gardens)

Heard Gardens

Denny Elwell Company is offering 18 acres. The property is located in Johnston near Merle Hay Road and Johnston Drive.  It was home to a former nursery and has great natural landscaping. The site has high accessibility and is only approximately 1/2 mile north of I-80. For more information on this site contact the sales department at 515-964-1587 or E-mail marketing@dennyelwellcompany.com. To view a print brochure with more information on Heard Gardens click here.

Terra Lake Phase 2


At their meeting on June 15, 2015 the Johnston City Council rejected all bids for Phase 2 of the Terra Lake project. Bids for phase 2 of the project were received on June 3, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. It was discovered that the lowest bid received was 69% above the engineer’s estimate. Currently, potential contractors are extremely busy and availability to complete the project is limited. Construction was expected to begin July 1 and finish by December of 2015. City officials are unsure how long it will be until the project is completed.

Phase two of the project was to include the construction of a civic shelter and plaza, a trail connection and a fishing pier. Plans to reconstruct the Crown Point Community Center Parking lot were also a part of phase two. The City will consider what items can be moved to a later construction date. The City hopes to open bids for the project again in August or September.

Northwood Trail

Northwood Trail groundwork

At their meeting on Monday, June 8th the Johnston Planning and Zoning Commission considered and approved the Final Plat for Northwood Trail Plat 1 subdividing 9.25 acres into 32 single family detached townhome lots served by private streets and utilities. The property is located east of NW 70th Avenue and east of Peckham Street.

The City Council approved the preliminary plat and site plans for Northwood Home Association on February 17, 2015. The current site plan and preliminary plat are identical to the previous approval except for a decrease in density from 40 units to 32.

Take a drive along NW 70th to view the progress on this project!

Multi-Family Housing Market


The City of Johnston Planning and Zoning Commission recently asked city staff to explore multi-family housing in Johnston. The Planning and Zoning Commission was specifically curious about whether the market is saturated or if there is a need for additional multi-family development. David Wilwerding the Community Development Director provided the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission with a memo to provide information on the multi-family market and industry trends.

Trends today show that there is a high demand for apartments and condominiums. Millennials (age 16-34) currently make up the largest percentage of the population. They have the desire to rent and live in walkable urban areas. The baby boomers or those born between 1946 and 1964 are aging and in the future will continue to downsize to apartment/condominium living style. Combined the Millennials and the baby boomers make up 48% of the population.

The staff concluded that locally and nationally shifting demographics point to the need for affordable housing choices. Based on current vacancy and rental rates, the development community is responding to the increased demand for multi-family residential housing. Although there have been peaks in multi-family residential apartment construction in Johnston, over the past 15 years or so the percentage of owner versus renter occupied units has remained relatively consistent.

The information in the attached memo was provided as a way to facilitate discussion on the topic. This memo is not a staff recommendation on demand or saturation or approval or denial of any pending or future multifamily housing developments in Johnston. Many metro organizations including the Polk County Housing Trust Fund and CBRE Hubbell Commercial have also explored the topic of the multi-family housing market, their conclusions can be found in the attached document.

Follow the link below to learn more about multi-family housing market trends.

Fiedler & Timmer Law Office: Windsor Office Park


As you drive down Windsor parkway you may notice construction occurring on a lot west of Windsor Corporate Centre I. The building that will be constructed on the lot will be home to a 5,828 square foot first floor law office and 1,472 square foot second-story residence. The mixed-use building will be home to Fiedler & Timmer Attorneys at Law.

The site plans for the building were approved in January of 2015 by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Johnston City Council. A private ground breaking was held recently and included JEDCO member Hansen Company Inc. who is the contractor for the project.

Beaver Drive Boat and RV Storage


At their meeting on May 26th the Johnston Planning and Zoning Commission considered a site plan for Beaver Drive Boat and RV Storage. 6060 NW Beaver, LLC submitted a site plan depicting five storage buildings to be constructed over lots 1 and 2 of Thieleke Acres Plat 2 to be utilized for boat and RV storage. The site is located west of NW Beaver Drive and south of NW 62nd Ave. The Commission approved the site plan with the conditions noted in the City staff report.

For more information about this project follow the link below.


Merle Hay Road Gateway Environmental Services Study


Improvements to the Merle Hay Road Gateway area have been highly anticipated by many Johnston residents. In order to make the area more attractive for development the wooded area east of Merle Hay and adjacent to Beaver Creek could be selectively thinned and groomed to open up visibility from the Interstate.  Before such work can proceed additional environmental assessments will be needed with respect to the wetlands and habitat.

At their meeting on May 18th the Johnston City Council authorized an environmental assessment including a wetland delineation study and an acoustic bat survey to determine if protected bats are inhabiting the area.  An agreement for professional services with Foth Infrastructure and Environment for the assessment work was approved.

The City of Johnston is communicating with various regulatory agencies about potential improvements to the greenbelt area between the redevelopment sites and I-35/80. Discussions have been held with the US Army Corp of Engineers, Iowa DOT, US Fish and Wildlife, and the Iowa DNR, and the study results will be shared with them. A survey of all trees over 6 inches in diameter in the area has already been completed.

For more information about this study follow the link below.


Windsor Office Park Zoning Map Amendment

Windsor Office Park

At their meeting on May 11th the Planning and Zoning Commission considered and did not approve an amendment to the Johnston 2030 Comprehensive Plan with respect to a site consisting of 7.92 acres and located north of Windsor Parkway and West of NW 90th Street. The amendment would have changed the current site from “Office Park” to “High Density Residential” land use.

The applicant Premier Development, L.L.C had submitted a request to amend the plan and to rezone lots 12-15 of Windsor Office Park Plat 1 to allow for R-4, multiple-family residential uses at a density of 24 units per acre. The site is currently zoned Planned Unit Development, known as Windsor Office Park PUD which allows uses of the PC, Professional Commerce Park District with upper-story residential uses.

Many neighboring residents signed a petition and appeared before the Commission to object to the proposal.  The Commission considered the proposal and comments from the area residents, and opted to keep the focus for this area on commercial development at this time.

Follow the link below for more information on the Windsor Office Park Zoning Map Amendment.

Windsor Office Park – Zoning Map Amendment

Cadence Apartments

Cadence Rendering


At their meeting on Monday, May 4th the Johnston City Council approved the final plat for Cadence Apartments. The plat will combine five existing lots into one to allow for the development of the 92 unit apartment complex. The apartments will be located West of Merle Hay Road and north of a future segment of NW 63rd Place.

The structures that once stood on the five  lots have been removed to make room for the three 3- story buildings, which will have an urban design and will be different than anything available in the current Iowa market.

Recently the Johnston City Council determined that the Cadence Apartment project meets tax increment financing requirements for the East/Central Urban Renewal Area and the goals established for the Merle Hay Road Redevelopment Plan. The developers will receive a property tax rebate of 70 percent of the incremental taxes for five years, up to a maximum of $1,356,000. Once the project is complete that city estimates that project will have a new taxable valuation of approximately $21 million, compared to the current valuation of $909,000.

In addition to the new apartment complex there will be some road improvements in the area. NW 63rd Place will be extended between NW 59th Court and Merle Hay Road between Created in Johnston and the new apartment complex.


Windsor Office Park PUD Amendment


At their meeting on Monday, May 4th the Johnston City Council considered and approved a Resolution proposed by Jennx Inc. to amend the Windsor Office Park PUD  to allow the opportunity to better connect the future development with the adjacent park site by reducing the southern side yard setback from 50 feet to 20 feet of lot 21.

This property was part of an approximately 80 acre site, located west of NW 86th Street and South of Windsor Drive. This PUD was amended via Ordinance 724 in October of 2005 to allow limited retail and second story residential uses. The Johnston 2030 Land Use Plan reclassified the property as Business Park/Office. There are currently no known project plans for this site, but the change may be an indicator of future activity.

Birchwood Crossing Traffic Study


At their meeting on May 11th, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a PUD amendment to Birchwood Crossing to amend allowed uses and signage to Parcel D of the PUD Master Plan. The PUD amendment will allow for the construction of an approximately 25,000 square foot building which would be home to Bison Motorcycle and apparel, the authorized Indian Motorcycle dealer for the Des Moines metro area.

Due to the proposed project the City of Johnston requested an updated traffic impact study to analyze the traffic impact on NW 86th Street at Birchwood Court and NW 54th Avenue. The provisions of an additional access route from Birchwood Court to NW 54th Avenue & Foxboro Road was also analyzed.

Based on the Traffic Study Foth provided the following improvement recommendations. The first recommendation includes extending Birchwood Court to NW 54th Avenue and Foxboro Road. With this connection, traffic circulation within the study will allow the intersection of NW 86th Street & Birchwood Court to function at an acceptable Level of Service. The second recommendation is to align the extension on Birchwood Court to NW 54th Avenue with Foxboro Road. The traffic circulation shown within this study is centered upon this alignment.

Follow the link below for more information on the Birchwood Crossing Traffic Study.
Birchwood Traffic Study