In many ways, three projects that represent three phases of development tell the story of the growth that Clive has experienced and will continue to undergo in the next 15 years.
They include the redevelopment of N.W. 86th Street, which was once named Clive Road and has served as a major vehicular and commercial link for Clive and the Des Moines metro; the ongoing construction of high-end housing, particularly in the northwest section of town, that has helped Clive establish one of the strongest tax bases in Iowa; and the proposed new Town Center along 114th Street between Hickman Road and University Avenue that city officials and business leaders say will provide Clive with a much-needed community destination and focal point and will serve as a catalyst for private development there.
“We have a lot going on,” says Assistant City Manager Matthew McQuillen. “Our strategy as a city is that we continue to provide quality housing and that we still have about 700 to 800 acres to grow into in the next 15 years or so with what we call ‘green-fill development.’ We also understand the importance of redevelopment and that it takes longer to do, so it’s important for a community to start that now before it is built out. Those things are important for a city to stay vital.”
Community Development Director Douglas Ollendike says new, higher-end housing is Clive’s “bread and butter” regarding development and that it has stayed relatively consistent despite the recent recession.
“We are back at and above 2008 numbers when it comes to providing homes for mid- to upper-income levels,” he says. “What captures the attention of home owners is our tax base; it’s one of the strongest in the metro, if not the state. Residents’ expectations are that the city will continue to grow and protect its tax values, which makes living here affordable and attractive.”
Creating a Town Center
Last year, the Clive City Council identified the creation of a new Town Center along 114th Street between Hickman Road and University Avenue as not only a focal point for local government and community gatherings but a catalyst for private development sparked by public investment. The Town Center would include the existing Clive Aquatics Center as well as a new government center and city campus, a mix of housing and retail and a family-oriented environment with strong connections to the Clive Greenbelt.
Earlier this year, the city hired urban design consultant Dennis Reynolds to help it develop a vision plan for the project that would reflect months of research and market analysis to determine its economic viability and goals. As a result, city officials and Reynolds decided to divide the Town Center into neighborhoods with each containing a specific character and style of development that conforms to the overall plan for the Town Center area.
In May, the first part of the vision plan was unveiled and one month later the balance of the plan was presented, focusing on detailed development concepts and its benefits. The mayor and city council approved the plan and directed staff to move forward with a detailed master plan for the Town Center, which will include information on how the 10-acre plot of land owned by the city (across the street from the city’s current offices) will be developed in concert with a new government center, housing for law enforcement and city hall functions.
“Our short-term, biggest economic development project is the Town Center. It’s a public-private partnership in which we own the land and in the longterm we see it as the center of the community,” says McQuillen. “It’s our only vacant, high dollar land left in Clive east of the interstate with great access and the greenbelt running through it. Our vision for it is to focus more on high density development than what we have seen historically in this area.”
The Town Center’s anchor is a new government center that will house the staffs of city and police on the north side of the square, with the remaining development to include multi-family residential with retail on the first floors of those buildings.
“We’ve been having discussions about what the city needs, and we hope to create a centralized city campus with a sense of place,” says Ollendike. “Right now we’re in the early stages of developing a master plan for the city’s component as well as residential and retail. There is even the possibility of moving the library across the street to the Town Center in the future.”
Shive-Hattery, the firm hired to design the city’s new government center, shared details about design features and cost estimates at a recent city council meeting. The government building will be approximately 49,615 square feet in size and cost between $16.85 and $18.45 million. The building will include offices, a chamber for the city council, public gallery, green roof system and house the police department and 23 vehicle stalls.
McQuillen says construction should begin by next summer.
“The government building will be one of the first buildings there, which will set the tone for the entire corridor,” he says.
Drive along Berkshire Parkway and you will find a variety of new homes being built there that cost between $300,000 to $500,000 — north of Hickman Road and east of Alice’s Road, to an area near Shuler Elementary School in Waukee. They account for some of the 79 new single-family home permits the city has issued through July. Subdivisions with the Berkshire name, including Woods, Meadows, North and Commons, are bustling with construction.
“The Berkshire area is very busy, and there are at least 50 homes under construction. There’s probably another 80 acres to be developed, which means about another 150 homes to be built there on an area that is about 200 acres total,” says Ollendike. “There has been an uptick in activity there since Shuler Elementary School was completed in 2010 for the Waukee school district.”
Another neighboring subdivision featuring new home construction is Angel Park, which Ollendike says is being built exclusively by Jerry’s Homes and features houses that cost between $225,000 and $350,000. He says about one-third of the 80 acres there has been developed and that at the current pace of building he estimates that it could be filled in three to four years.
Plans for a third plat in the nearby Verona Hills subdivision are also underway, according to city officials. They say that it will include 80 to 85 new homes that will be similar in price to those found in the Berkshire area.
Though single-family home construction has dominated the residential development landscape in Clive, a multi-family project by Hubbell Realty has already broken ground on 156th Street north of Hickman Road called Stonegate Crossing. The first building for the 200-unit apartment complex is expected to be built within 12 to 15 months and is one of six buildings to be built in the next two years, says Ollendike.
“It’s the first project of its kind in Clive in 30 years,” says Ollendike. “Once we cross west of the interstate, everything is single-family homes or condos — no rental apartments in the traditional sense. It provides some diversification in housing for young professional people to be introduced to Clive and our housing stock.”
Redeveloping N.W. 86th Street
City officials say redeveloping the well-traveled N.W. 86th Street corridor is a necessity because over the years commercial, residential and municipal uses have become scattered throughout the city and the corridor has struggled to maintain its prominence as other areas of the metro develop and grow. They say by investing in corridor planning and roadway improvements, the city is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring the corridor remains an economically viable, diverse place with quality residential and commercial uses for years to come.
“We’ve been working on this for some time, upgrading infrastructure and working on aesthetic improvements,” says Ollendike. “The streetscaping is in its last phase and is expected to be completed in 30 to 45 days.”
City officials say construction along N.W. 86th Street has been ongoing for six to seven years, but it has been necessary to consolidate and focus land use as well as help attract businesses and to motivate existing property owners to make upgrades to their buildings and land.
“We need to see owners step up in their investment of the area,” says Ollendike. “Right now it’s a 25- to 30-year-old commercial strip development not necessarily consistent with tenant’s desires. Some of the buildings are not conducive to new tenants.
“We know it’s messy, difficult and expensive, and it takes a long time. It might take 10, 15 or 20 years before it pays off, which is why we’re starting now. We need to think about our tax base over time and we need to make investments now.”