2020 has been a difficult year for new commercial and retail developments, and it has been especially difficult for creating new space for the restaurant industry. Developers and communities have needed to show patience and make accommodations. The Johnston Town Center (JTC) project is no exception. With City Hall complete and project amenities and infrastructure moving forward in the summer of 2021 – there is a strong desire for commercial developments to come forward.

City staff have reported their findings that all developers are experiencing significant challenges with pre-signing tenants for proposed buildings. They have indicated that developers have had more success filling vacant existing spaces and therefore they believe that initiation of an initial commercial building is critical for the Town Center project success.

Hansen Real Estate and the City of Johnston are considering steps for kick-starting JTC commercial development by constructing a speculative building on the site -to be opened by the summer of 2022. Here are a few details.

The building would be a 13,500 square foot, two story, mixed use building located at the intersection of Merle Hay Road and NW 62nd Ave.

A development agreement incorporating the proposed terms would be drafted and considered by City Council in April or May of 2021. Possible details of development agreement for the speculative building are described in a February 26, 2021 memo from Hansen Real Estate to the City of Johnston.

Meanwhile, marketing efforts to secure a restaurant, brew-pub and other commercial tenants for the project continue. See https://johnstontowncenter.com/.

The timing of the proposed speculative building, coupled with these marketing efforts, may be right. Let’s hope the distribution of vaccines and the “re-opening” of the economy accelerate in these coming months.