Vacant Pleasant Hill Water Park Primed for Redevelopment

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa  --  White Water University water park in Pleasant Hill closed its doors in 2005, and has sat unused since that time.

“What are they going to do with that place? Are they ever going to do anything? It's been empty, it’s been kind of a waste of space, eyesore,” said Peggy Reed outside of the Fareway that stands next to the former attraction.

People who feel the way Reed does will be happy to know it might not be around for much longer. Christensen Development is looking to buy the land on which the water park is sitting, as company president Jake Christensen says it has a lot of untapped potential.

“We have a strong community and that's the basis of any good real estate investment, and so I think the community will embrace a positive change at the location. And then the normal fundamentals of traffic counts, visibility, and access that comes into play, as well,” said Christensen.

Sitting right on University Avenue, the water park is in a prime location.

“There's going to be a lot of different uses on this site. I'm not sure if they'll be a single building mixed-use, but there will definitely be many different uses within the six acres,” said Christensen.

Those uses will include everything from retail to apartments to potentially a hotel. Residents say it's a much-needed change.

“University is such a busy street, it'd be nice to see something there, a business to boost up Pleasant Hill,” said Reed.

Christensen agrees.

“I think it's twofold. I think one is if you have something that is detracting from what is already positive, I think that is one part we hope to alleviate, and then the other is just an opportunity for quality spaces for new businesses to come, so it should accomplish both of those goals,” he said.

Reed says even though she has good memories of the park, it's time to move on.

“I took my kids there, it was a fun time, but that's in the past, you know, sometimes things have to go to better the community,” she said.

Christensen expects to finish his approval process with the city and close on the property by the end of February. He estimates the total cost of the project will be between $10-20 million.