On Tuesday, October 22nd, City Leaders officially broke ground on the Johnston Town Center project and new City Hall. This groundbreaking was a celebration of a unique public/private partnership with The Hansen Company and the culmination of years of working towards the creation of a town square within Johnston.
The vision for a shopping area along northern Merle Hay Road dates back to the City’s first Comprehensive Plan completed in 1972, this vision was refined over the years and the Town Center concept on this corner was first envisioned in a 2007 Redevelopment Plan. With many successful projects completed around the area from this 2007 plan, including the City’s Public Safety Building, work began in 2016 to refine this Town Center Concept. Since 2016, the City has been actively acquiring properties in this area, and have completed the assembly of 12 parcels, totaling more than 17 acres that will become the town center.
The Town Center will include new restaurants, businesses and office space, accented by amenities that can be enjoyed all year long, like an ice rink in the winter that morphs into a splash pad and plaza in the warmer months. The spacious area at the heart of the Town Center, to be known as The Yard will host the existing farmer’s market, various concerts, festivals, movies in the park, car shows and curling and ice-skating. Those enjoying the recreational trails can use the trailhead adjacent to the Town Center to walk, bike or run to an amenity here at the Town Center.
While the ground was broken on the Town Center, the first building to be constructed will be our new City Hall. While our existing City Hall has served our city well, first as a Hy-Vee and then as a City Hall over the last 30 years – we look forward to our new space that will be an architectural gem overlooking the Yard, and be something our residents will be able to be proud of and enjoy for many years to come. Existing walnut, linden oak and ash trees on the site have been harvested and will be used on a variety of interior features. The building's use of natural wood will certainly make City Hall an identifiable feature within Johnston. The front of City Hall, which faces west will be used as a performance feature overlooking The Yard for concerts, events, outdoor movies. We look forward to seeing this as a gathering space that everyone of all ages can enjoy.
In addition to the exciting Town Center work, 2020 will also see a major transformation of the intersection of NW 62nd Avenue and Merle Hay Road, which will include improved turn lanes, pedestrian and bike crossings, trail improvements, on-street parking along the east side of Merle Hay and north side of NW 62nd Avenue and improvements to water, sewer and storm sewer infrastructure in the area. Additionally, a sidewalk will be constructed along NW 62nd Avenue from Merle Hay Road to NW 48th Street, improving pedestrian access to the Town Center and Lawson Elementary.
The City Hall and Town Center site will be constructed by The Hansen Company, and Hansen Real Estate is marketing the adjacent commercial properties. Design and engineering for the site have been completed by Confluence, OPN Architects, and Civil Design Advantage. Improvements to the Merle Hay Road and NW 62nd Avenue intersection are being completed by Foth Infrastructure and Environment.
To learn more about the Johnston Town Center, visit www.cityofjohnston.com/johnstontowncenter. To learn more about leasing opportunities within the Johnston Town Center, visit www.johnstontowncenter.com.